A team of international researchers have made a major step towards a vaccine to for malaria, something scientists have long been trying to achieve as the disease kills up to 600,000 people each year. There have been two major roadblocks – scientists did not know what part of the disease the immune system needed to target, nor did they know the mechanism used by the immune system to block an infection.
The head of the Burnet centre for biomedical research in Melbourne, Professor James Beeson, said he and his team had managed to unlock the strategy the immune system needed to use to target and kill the disease. Researchers have long known that antibodies alone were not very effective at targeting the malaria organism, leading them to believe the antibodies in people resistant to malaria must be getting help from elsewhere.
“What we discovered is that the antibodies needed to recruit other proteins in the blood, known as a complement, to help them to coat the malaria organism,” Beeson said.
Read more, via The Guardian