Safe bite?

the successful trial of an experimental vaccine developed by a British healthcare group has given a major boost to researchers looking for an effective remedy for malaria. The SmithKline Beecham group based in Brentford, uk, says that the vaccine was tried on volunteers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, us.

Different formulations of the vaccine were given to three groups of volunteers, who were exposed to bites of mosquitoes carrying a strain of Plasmodium falciparum, the malaria-causing parasite. Out of seven volunteers who received the most complex formulation of the experimental vaccine, six remained free of infection. Groups that received less complex formulations had only marginal protection against the disease, and all non-vaccinated volunteers became infected.

According to a company spokes-person, the experimental vaccine may not be effective against all variants. But the results of this study would allow a better understanding of the immunological requirements for the development of an efficacious malaria vaccine.

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