Immunology

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have developed an experimental vaccine that could, theoretically, eliminate malaria from entire geographic regions, by eradicating the malaria parasite from an area's mosquitoes.

The vaccine, so far tested only in mice, would prompt the immune system of a person who receives it to eliminate the parasite from the digestive tract of a malaria-carrying mosquito, after the mosquito has fed upon the blood of the vaccinated individual. The vaccine would not prevent or limit malarial disease in the person who received it.

An article describing this work was published on the Web site of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mosquitoes' thirst for sugar could prove to be the answer for eliminating malaria and other mosquito-transmitted diseases, says Hebrew University researcher Prof. Yosef Schlein in a study published in the American Science magazine and the International Journal for Parasitology.