Vaccine against Malaria may soon be a Reality
Malaria is a parasitic disease transported through the female anopheles mosquito. It is a dangerous disease responsible for the death of almost one million persons around the world every year. Most of the symptoms of the disease appear when the protozoa plasmodium invades the human red blood cells. Past researches have shown that a vaccine against malaria will be the most cost effective way of dealing with the disease. However, till date, no effective vaccine has been developed against the disease. However, according to a report published in the journal “Nature”, scientists have found an important receptor on the human red blood cells, blocking which can prevent the entry of the parasite into the blood cells.
Scientists have found many important receptors on the blood cells which play a role in the entry of the parasite into the cells. However, none of these receptors was found to be essential. When one of the receptors was blocked, the parasite gained entry through another receptor. However, now scientists have zeroed down on a receptor, called as basigin, which is essential for entry of plasmodium into the red blood cells. Using a technique called Avidity based Extracellular Interaction Screen, it was seen that there is an interaction between a protein present in the plasmodium cell, called as PfRh5, and the basigin receptor, which facilitates the entry of the parasite into the blood cells. When this interaction is blocked using a particular antibody, the parasite is unable to gain entry into the cell.
According to Dr. Julian Rayner, a senior co-author of the study, the identification of a single receptor – ligand pair, essential for the invasion of erythrocytes by the various strains of plasmodium, is an important step in the development of effective vaccine against malaria. Vaccines containing a low concentration of anti- basigin antibodies may block the erythrocytic phase of the disease and may finally prove to be the best way to defeat malaria.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010