Malaria, a mosquito-transmitted disease that is the cause of over 200 million infections and over one million deaths each year, may soon be cured. This amazing news stems from a new article published in the journal Science. In the report, a team of Malaria researchers announced their work on the PfSPZ Malaria vaccine. This vaccine is the closest medicine has ever come to eliminating Malaria.
What makes this PfSPZ Malaria vaccine so exiting is that the vaccine was recently proven effective in protecting humans from contacting Malaria. The vaccine had a 100% success rate in combatting malaria in patients whom received five doses. In contrast, four of five unvaccinated patients contacted the disease.
The PfSPZ Malaria vaccine utilizes Plasmodium falciparum, an immature and weakened form of Malaria. The weakened Malaria strain does not harm the human, but does trigger the human’s immune system to create a defense against the disease.
"Clearly the results that these authors obtained are really very impressive. For those individuals receiving five doses, they are recording 100 percent protection,” says Nirbhay Kumar, a professor of tropical medicine at Tulane University; Kumar himself is currently looking to develop a different Malaria vaccine.
This small, yet successful first round of testing nearly guarantees that the research teams behind the PfSPZ Malaria vaccine will be granted funding to conduct a larger human study.
If the vaccine continues to succeed, researchers will also be tasked with harnessing a way to inject the vaccine quickly and cheaply. The vaccine would be most needed in developing countries, and in large amounts.
The PfSPZ vaccine is not yet perfect, but it does provide the world’s first great hope in bringing an end Malaria. If the PfSPZ vaccine is successful, Malaria may join Polio as a disease that medicine simply wiped out.