According to a report, mankind is finally close to develop a vaccine for malaria, the scourge of the 21st century. American scientists are close to perfecting a vaccine for malaria after research on children in Tanzania. Initial animal tests carried out on mice have confirmed that the vaccine protects against the disease and it is hoped that it will also be effective in humans also.

The vaccine was tried on mice that were then infected with the Plasmodium pathogens. The vaccine nearly doubled the lifespan of the rodents and also reduced the by three quarters the population of the Plasmodium protozoan in the blood.

According to the Journal Science the major breakthrough was achieved after researchers from studied 785 children in Tanzania and found that 6% of the children had antibodies which protected them from the disease.

The same conclusion was also drawn by researchers from Rhode Island Hospital, the National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Washington who found the same antibodies in the blood of teens in Kenya who had natural immunity against malaria.

The findings paved for the development of the primary vaccine PfSEA-1 which traps the Plasmodium parasites in the RBC and prevents them from spreading. This is markedly different from the earlier approach of researchers who were trying to perfect a vaccine which prevented the entry of the protozoan into the RBC.

Lead researcher, Jonathan Kurtis, explained that this method would need to work in close tandem with other vaccines aimed at other parts of the cycle. The vaccine does not eliminate the parasites but reduces them to a level that can ease the symptoms. Trials involving primates will be done before clinical trials with humans are started.

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