Radboudumc teaching hospital in Nijmegen has started clinical trials on humans to test a vaccine against malaria developed by the hospital and Danish vaccine researchers at the Statens Serum Institute.
On Monday the first group of volunteers were injected with the new vaccine to establish whether or not antibodies will be produced which inhibit the transfer of the disease.
Some half a million people die from malaria each year, particularly young children in Africa. Malaria-causing parasites are transferred from one person to another via mosquitos.
The new vaccine eliminates a protein which is key in the transfer of the parasite to the mosquito. Once that process is blocked the mosquito will not host new parasites and cannot infect more people.
The vaccine does not prevent a person from getting malaria but will prevent spread, something which was considered a radically new approach to the problem, and which the Nijmegen researchers have worked on since the 1990s.
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