The Dutch completed the first clinical study of a GMO vaccine against malaria. Testing has shown that the vaccine is safe and causes a defensive response against malaria infection, according to a study by scientists from the Leiden University Medical Center, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Malaria is one of the most common human infectious diseases. Its causative agents are unicellular parasites from the genus Plasmodium. In total, there are four most common types of plasmodia, one of which – Plasmodium vivax – is most often found in the countries of Eurasia, which are located in the temperate climatic zone.
In a new study, scientists, along with Radboudumc engineers, created a weakened version of the malaria virus (PfSPZ GA1) by removing two genes from it. This allows the weakened version of the virus to remain in the liver – it is on this organ that the first blow of the natural malaria virus falls.
The authors of the development believe that the human body can adapt to PfSPZ GA1 and develop antibodies that will prevent the ingestion of the real virus from the liver into the circulatory system.
In the first phase of clinical trials, 67 volunteers participated, divided into two groups – one gave a low dose of the vaccine, and the second high. Testing has shown that the vaccine is safe and more effective in high doses.