Study shows vaccine candidate targets key malaria protein

A red blood cell infected with malaria parasites. | Courtesy of NIAID

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) released a report Friday that detailed a study of the RTS,S vaccine that is in clinical testing against malaria.

The vaccine candidate targets the circumsporozoite protein (CSP) that the parasite releases as it enters a host, primarily by mosquito bite. There are two areas on the protein that are key components to the infectious activity of the parasite.

Scientists from NIAID and their research partners found that the RTS,S candidate provided limited protection against malaria. Continued research on the CSP and gaining a full understanding of how it functions in an infection would likely allow a more advanced version of the vaccine to be developed with increased potential. In clinical trials the current form of the vaccine showed a 30 to 50 percent protection rate among vaccinated children. 

NIAID reports that approximately 40 percent of the global population lives within an area at risk for malaria. NIAID also said that approximately 584,000 people died from the disease in 2013. 

The vaccine candidate was approved for use in Africa by European regulatory bodies following trails consisting of approximately 15,000 children and infants in Africa.

Malaria has symptoms consisting of: nausea and vomiting, body aches, fever, chills and sweating. In areas where malaria is not common it can be misidentified as influenza.

Organizations in this story

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9806 Bethesda, MD 20892-9806

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