Malaria Vaccine Almost A Reality As New Treatment Can Protect For A Year

Incredibly, there is still no vaccine for malaria.

10/05/2016 11:44

A malaria vaccine could soon become a reality after scientists have developed a temporary treatment which can now keep people protected for a full year.

Incredibly, there is still no vaccine for malaria despite the fact that it kills up to half a million people every year while infecting millions more.

Photographed and edited by Janos Csongor Kerekes via Getty Images

The researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine were able to create a new weakened version of the parasite which causes malaria.

Once infected with this weakened version test subjects were then exposed to the same parasitic strain.

The results were impressive to say the least - 55 per cent were protected for up to a year.

While the duration of effect is important, the vaccine also had another incredibly powerful side-effect which was that it gave people 'sterile protection'.

Omikron via Getty Images
Color enhanced Transmission Electron Micrograph (TEM) showing malaria (Plasmodium cathemerium) infecting blood. Magnification unknown.

This means that those affected would no longer be able to get malaria or even pass it on as a carrier, massively hindering malaria's ability to spread quickly.

"These results are really important," said Kirsten E. Lyke, a researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Malaria has such a devastating effect on children, especially in Africa. This vaccine has the potential to help travelers, military personnel and children in malaria-endemic areas."

The hope is that this temporary vaccine can be used not only as a first step towards a permanent vaccine but also as a weapon in its current form for halting the fast-paced spread of the disease.

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