Louis Schofield of James Cook University in Australia will develop a broad-spectrum malaria vaccine that is effective against different life-cycle stages of multiple species of the causative Plasmodium parasite. More than one third of the world's population is at risk of contracting malaria. However developing an effective vaccine is challenging because humans are infected by five quite distinct Plasmodium species. In addition the parasites pass through very different developmental stages including sporozoites which mosquitoes inject into the human bloodstream a disease-causing blood stage and a transmissible sexual stage. Using Grand Challenges Explorations funding they have already identified a surface oligosaccharide antigen conserved in several Plasmodium species that when combined with generic carriers and adjuvants can generate a strong immune response that blocks several life-cycle stages in animal models. They will perform further key preclinical evaluations to determine the full efficacy of the vaccine and whether it should proceed to testing in humans.
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