Aussie researchers make breakthrough in malaria prevention


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Some Australian researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, said they had discovered a way to stop the malaria parasite invading healthy red blood cells.

The researchers, who made this claim on Friday in Sydney, said they were now closer to developing a vaccine that could defend the body against malaria.

Prof. Alan Cowman, who led the study, said that the malaria parasite could not penetrate a human red blood cell when key proteins were deleted.

“These findings hold great promise for understanding the function of these proteins and their development as vaccines,” he explained.

Cowman said that developing new vaccines for malaria was a global research priority, noting that approximately half of the world’s population could be at a risk of contracting malaria each year.

“More than 200 million people were malaria infected.

“The disease kills up to 450,000 people each year, mainly children under five years old,’’ he said.

Cowman said the development had also become imperative, as existing anti-malaria drugs were becoming less effective because the malaria parasite had developed resistance to treatments.

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