Thursday, November 18, 2010

Video: human testing of malaria vaccine

The US Military is conducting human testing of a new vaccine that will help ward off malaria. The vaccine is for a particular malaria strain found in Asia, not the one that we hear so much about in Africa. The military is conducting the trials to try to keep the soldiers serving in Afghanistan from getting sick with malaria.

From the BBC, this fascinating video talks to one of the subjects of the testing.

In the accompanying story, we find out that Sgt. Civitello did get sick from the mosquito bites.

First Sgt Civitello is part of the world's first clinical trial of a vaccine against Plasmodium vivax - the most widespread strain of malaria.

It's not as deadly as Plasmodium falciparum, which is endemic in Africa and kills millions of people, but it can resurface years after infection and still make its victims extremely ill.

And as predicted, about 10 days after being bitten by mosquitoes in a laboratory, he displayed all the symptoms of malaria.

"It started out with a headache, then a general malaise throughout the day. My eyeballs hurt, and I was really sensitive to cold and hot - my skin was sensitive and I had sweats and chills all night long. It was like extremely bad flu," Sgt Civitello said.

Twenty-seven other volunteers in the study had been given varying doses of the vaccine for several months prior to infection.

Developed by scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, it consists of a protein that stimulates the body's immune system and triggers its natural defences against the disease.

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