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Beginnings of malaria vaccine?

Functional assays demonstrate promise of MSP3 target, a potential first step in a long process, according to scientists

Ishani Ganguli(iganguli@the-scientist.com)

In initial clinical trials of the first Merozoite Surface Protein 3 (MSP3) malaria vaccine, researchers have shown in vitro and in vivo evidence that the vaccine might work better than natural immunity. Functional assays demonstrated that vaccine-elicited antibodies are up to twice as effective at monocyte-dependent parasite killing than those found in African adults from endemic areas, a study in PLOS Medicine reports.

"What is really amazing is [that we could] induce with so little antigen what requires…daily [exposure to] the parasite for twenty years," first author Pierre Druilhe at the Pasteur Institute in Paris told The Scientist.

But while the functional assay approach "adds to the already impressive body of evidence supporting MSP3" as a target, according to Vasee Moorthy at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England, he and others agreed that researchers have many trials and many errors to get through before they create a...

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