Nov 14, 2023
How ‘chemical vaccines’ could offer long-term protection against malaria in endemic areas, and combat the problems of dosing and drug resistance.
Drugs used to prevent and treat malaria are vital tools in the malaria toolkit – but they aren’t perfect. When used to prevent malaria, people must remember to take them regularly, or they won’t be as effective. And when they’re used to treat the disease, the sheer scale of infection – with billions of parasites in the body – makes it likely that some of those parasites will be drug-resistant, leading to treatment failure. But, when you formulate the drugs differently, as nano-particles in a water-based solution, and inject them, like a vaccine, those same drugs can offer effective, long-lasting protection against the disease. This so-called ‘chemical vaccine’, based on the antimalarial drug atovaquone, has been shown in mice to effectively stop the infection and subsequently, the onward transmission of the parasites to mosquitoes. The long-term hope is that a single dose of the ‘chemical vaccine’ could offer long-term protection against malaria in endemic areas, and help combat the problems of dosing and drug resistance.
About The Podcast
The Johns Hopkins Malaria Minute podcast is produced by the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute to highlight impactful malaria research and to share it with the global community.