Tidbits from the cutting room floor:
Malaria causes about one million deaths a year globally, most of which are children in Africa. Plasmodium falciparum is the most dangerous malaria parasite, causing almost all malaria deaths.
People have been hunting for a malaria vaccine for more than 50 years. It has proved an incredibly tough nut to crack - but this new research gives hope for an efficient vaccine. Scientists from the developing world have a key role to play.
“Some of the proteins we have tested in this paper have been in collaboration with scientists in Senegal, and these are parasites freshly isolated from people’s arms,” said Julian Rayner from the Wellcome Sanger Institute. This is important because parasites replicated in the lab for decades might be different to current strains.
Partnerships with researchers around the developing world will be continue to be important while working on the vaccine, including work on malaria parasite genome sequencing, he added.
“It is only by understanding what is happening in the field in terms of the diversity of the parasite, in terms of the different mechanisms that the field parasites use to invade, we will know whether we have a vaccine that has a real chance of being applied or not,” he said.