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Fundamental research

13 - 07 - 2018

Malaria: a new vaccine target validated in mice

Researchers at Yale University have created a vaccine that protects the mouse from re-infection with malaria by targeting the protein that allows the parasite to escape immunity.


Malaria is the second leading cause of death from infectious diseases worldwide. The disease does not produce immunity and no sufficiently effective vaccine exists. Finally, the use of antimalarials is complicated as resistanceoften develops.

A team of researchers from Yale University in the USA, discovered in 2012 a parasite protein, called PMIF, which allows it to avoid immune memory T cells. Thus, in mice, Plasmodium infection without PMIF stimulates memory T cells and increases immunity towards the parasite.

This team has therefore created a vaccine against PMIF in collaboration with Novartis Vaccines Inc.

It has shown in mice a protective effect against reinfections whether after an early or a severe infection. In addition, memory T cell from immunized mouse transfered after infection protected mice that had never been infected.




The researchers will now try to develop a vaccine that will work in the absence of infection.

However, these results are very encouraging, as Plasmodium is unlikely to find a solution to PMIF suppression. In addition, PMIF-like proteins exist in many other parasites, such as leishmanias or worms, which suggests the possibility of finding vaccines against these parasites.