Sydney: Australian researchers have made a major breakthrough in the quest for a vaccine against malaria, which snuffs out a million lives every year, particularly of children.The findings show that people who develop immunity to malaria develop antibodies that primarily target a protein known as PfEMP1, which is produced by Plasmodium falciparum, causing most cases of malaria.James Beeson, professor and senior study author at the Burnet Institute, Australia`s largest virology and communicable disease research centre, said that these findings are a major advance towards developing an effective vaccine, the Journal of Clinical Investigation reports.These findings unlock the mystery of which malaria proteins, known as variant surface antigens (VSAs), could be targeted by an effective vaccine to achieve immunity to malaria, according to a Burnet statement."A vaccine against malaria is urgently needed to reduce this disease globally and currently there is no licensed malaria vaccine available. The new findings support the idea that a vaccine could be developed that stimulates the immune system so that it specifically mounts a strong response (or attack) against the PfEMP1 protein that malaria produces," said Beeson.
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