"Mosquito smoothies" can speed up the development of a promising malaria vaccine

Jun, 2021 - By WMR

The researchers are currently perfecting the approach in preparation for human trials, in which participants would be given the vaccine before being bitten by infected mosquitoes.


With over 400,000 people dying from the disease each year, finding a malaria vaccination has always been a priority. However, as the parasite that causes it develops medicine resistance and the mosquitoes that disseminate it develop pesticide resistance, new, advanced weapons are compulsory to combat it. By simplifying the development process with "mosquito smoothies," new technology could give one of our most likely malaria vaccine candidates a tremendous boost. 


RTS, S vaccinations, and Whole Sporozoites Vaccines of the most promising two malaria vaccines. The former is well advanced, with the World Health Organization recently announcing a milestone effectiveness of 77%, greater than any vaccine of malaria ever tested and the earliest to go beyond its goal of at least 75%.


Vaccines based on sporozoites are still in the early stages of development. These diminish the entire parasites that cause malaria before infecting people and triggering an immune response.


The parasite is retrieved as a sporozoite from the salivary glands of mosquitos (where it would ordinarily infect bitten people). Manual extraction by a professional specialist, on the other hand, is costly and time-consuming. 


This new method, developed by Imperial College London scientists, might make the procedure far more efficient. The approach entails batch processing of entire mosquitos, which are reduced to a slurry and screened by size, density, and electrical charge. The required sporozoite products for vaccination are left behind during the process of manufacturing "mosquito smoothies."


The approach can make the vaccination more powerful as well as make the process faster and cheaper. Traditional sporozoite extraction introduces impurities such as undesired proteins and other debris, which can impact sporozoite infectivity and possibly the immune system response, jeopardizing the entire parasite vaccine's efficacy. 


The researchers used their innovative method to develop a malaria vaccination for rodents that provided 60 to 70% security when showing a mosquito bite that is infected. These were given to the muscles, but the scientists exposed that giving the vaccination directly into the bloodstream provided 100 percent protection.

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