Offering vital clues to improving malaria vaccine, an international research team has shown that carbohydrates on the surface of malaria parasites play a critical role in their ability to infect mosquito and human hosts.
According to a study:
- The discovery also suggests steps that may improve the only malaria vaccine approved.
- To protect people against Plasmodium falciparum malaria — the most deadly form of the disease.
- The team had shown that the malaria parasite “tags” its proteins with carbohydrates in order to stabilise.
- And transport them and that this process was crucial to completing the parasite’s life cycle.
According to researchers:
- Interfering with the parasite’s ability to attach these carbohydrates.
- To its proteins hinders liver infection and transmission to the mosquito
- And weakens the parasite to the point that it cannot survive in the host,” said Researchers.
- Malaria infects over 200 million people worldwide each year and kills around 650,000 people.
- In addition,predominantly pregnant women and children.
- Efforts to eradicate malaria require the development of new therapeutics, particularly an effective malaria vaccine.
- The first malaria vaccine approved for human use -RTS,S/AS01 -got the nod of the European regulators in July 2015.
- But has not as successful as hoped with marginal efficacy that wanes over time.
- The new research is aimed at improving malaria vaccine design.
- With this study, we’ve shown that the parasite protein is tagged with carbohydrates.
- Furthermore,making it slightly different to the vaccine, so the antibodies produced may not be optimal for recognising target parasites.
Adding that there were many document cases where attaching carbohydrates to a protein improved its efficacy as a vaccine.