Scientific Breakthrough: Malaria Could be a Thing of the Past

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Scientists working at Queensland’s Griffith University have developed what they claim is the world’s first long term effective Malaria vaccine. If this new, cheap vaccine lives up to its promise, it will save millions of poor people who cannot afford Malaria drugs.

Queensland researchers develop world first malaria vaccine

Kara Vickery, The Sunday Mail (Qld)

March 26, 2017 7:00am

QUEENSLAND researchers believe they could be the first in the world to find an effective vaccine for malaria, after a successful trial in humans.

Griffith University professor Michael Good said it was a significant step forward in the search for immunisation against one of the world’s most deadly diseases.

Prof Good said the vaccine used a form of the malaria parasite that lives in red blood cells, but has had its DNA altered so it cannot ­multiply and therefore does not cause disease.

“That parasite though is nevertheless capable of inducing an immune response,” he said.

“The immune system looks at that and thinks that it’s really seeing the malaria, the real malaria, whereas in fact it is seeing an (altered) version of the malaria.”

Prof Good said the university was now fundraising for the $500,000 it needed for the next round of trials, which would likely involve up to 30 volunteers who would be given three doses of the vaccine.

Read more:

I was listening to an interview this morning with Professor Good.

Professor Good’s approach, using a disabled version of real live Malaria parasites to stimulate the immune system, apparently stimulates a different response to previous Malaria vaccines. Instead of stimulating an antibody response which targets specific Malaria proteins, which can easily be confused by rapid mutations which alter surface proteins on the Malaria parasites, Professor Good’s approach stimulates a killer T-cell response. Killer T-cells are responsible for destroying cancer cells or cells which are damaged by viruses, toxins or in this case Malaria parasites. The disabled parasites in the Malaria vaccine actually attack the body in exactly the same way a real Malaria infection does, but the specially prepared vaccine parasites cannot multiply – their ability to spread the infection throughout the body has been disabled. This practice infection teaches the body’s killer T-cells learn to recognise damaged cells which have been infiltrated by Malaria parasites, so when the body faces a real Malaria infection, the infection is rapidly suppressed before it can do any harm.

This is not the first attempt to create a Malaria vaccine, but previous attempts to create Malaria vaccines only provided a few months protection – their effectiveness rapidly declines. Professor Good hopes his new approach will be different, will offer long term protection.

Although Professor Good has received some government funding, his team is currently appealing for private donations for the next round of Malaria vaccine trials.

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Patrick MJD
March 27, 2017 3:03 am

Cane toad anyone?

george e. smith
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 27, 2017 9:08 am

Perhaps it’s a new super DDT. That would work.


Reply to  george e. smith
March 27, 2017 11:12 am

DDT is not a vaccine.

Rhoda R
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 27, 2017 2:39 pm

urederra: No, DDT is not a vaccine but it IS an effective way to prevent Malaria in the first place.

Reply to  Rhoda R
March 27, 2017 3:44 pm

Yep, you can’t get malaria if you’re dead!

Reply to  Rhoda R
March 28, 2017 3:06 am

I was replying to George, who was comparing this vaccine to DDT. They are not the same, not even similar. DDT is an insecticide that kills the mosquito anophelles, and a vaccine is a microorganism or part of it, dead or alive but knocked out used to induce an inmune response.

DDT kills mosquitoes, a vaccine induces the immune response.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Rhoda R
March 28, 2017 10:34 am

George is aware of that I’m sure. He obviously thought his comment was so sarcastic it would never be taken seriously. Eliminate the carriers and Malaria becomes rare, along with Zika, etc. (I got that drift from his comment.)

March 27, 2017 3:06 am

What great news. Professor Good’s research is the sort of scientific work that Government should be spending money on, and not throwing money away on futile CAGW/ Global; Warming nonsense.

Henning Nielsen
Reply to  ntesdorf
March 27, 2017 11:37 am

But…but …our o2 emissionns are supposed to increase the range of malaria, is it not?

John Hardy
Reply to  ntesdorf
March 27, 2017 10:32 pm

Agreed – if this is correct and lives up to the promise it is the biggest public health breakthrough of the century by far. It is outrageous that he has to grovel around for private funds. I’d throw most of the UK’s foreign aid billions at it

John Hardy
Reply to  John Hardy
March 27, 2017 10:33 pm

I was agreeing with ntesdorf

March 27, 2017 3:16 am

Darn, I thought we were just going to allow the manufacture and distribution of DDT.

March 27, 2017 3:24 am

Yes. Well.
And how often have we heard this?

Winnipeg boy
Reply to  LevelGaze
March 27, 2017 11:33 am

In the US this would be smashed with a big regulatory hammer. Aussies are less inclined to cave to big pharma. I believe the guy who figured out that Ulcers was just common bacteria was Aussie. Put Mayo stomach removal surgery out of business because it was midevil garbage and world wide consensus belief that it was a disease. Even then it took him 20 years to get message out. Established medicine fought him all the way, causing untold suffering and death.

Reply to  Winnipeg boy
March 27, 2017 1:58 pm


Just think how certain the medical experts were that cancers cannot be caused by a virus like HPV. It took them decades to accept the clear evidence.

Rhoda R
Reply to  Winnipeg boy
March 27, 2017 2:40 pm

Consensus science.

Reply to  Winnipeg boy
March 28, 2017 3:21 am

Even then it took him 20 years to get message out.
Nonsense, he received the Nobel Prize 20 years after his experiments, they were well accepted long before that, he was receiving national and international awards within 10 years of the research.

Reply to  Winnipeg boy
April 9, 2017 4:18 pm

It was more like 10 years, but you have to remember that the gastroenterologists were on a good thing at that time. They’d been able to wangle an annual medicare-subsidised endoscopic examination of each of their ulcer patients and they weren’t about to give that up easily.Since Barry Marshall wasn’t a gastroenterologist they just closed ranks and ignored him.

Even so, the gastroenterologists have made sure that they are still well and truly involved (and paid) in new H. pylori patients.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
March 27, 2017 3:49 am

This is very good news and a tribute to what science is capable of achieving in good and dedicated hands to advance human progress and welfare.

I just hope the Malaria parasite doesn’t find some way around this new approach – so far it has dodged our bullets.

If all goes as hoped some Nobel prizes would be well in order and richly deserved – pity the currency has been devalued by being awarded to climate clowns like Gore ?

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
March 27, 2017 5:22 am

Except the DDT bullet that is!

Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 27, 2017 5:46 am
Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 27, 2017 5:48 am

My link was wrong, too. Maybe this one works.

Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 27, 2017 1:38 pm

Michael Palmer – Not so. Your link says “Most malaria fatalities occur in Africa. On this continent, no comprehensive effort has ever been made to control or eradicate malaria; instead, all such projects occurred only on a local or regional scale, and many were abandoned after only a few years.“. The reason that no comprehensive effort was made, and that those projects that did start were abandoned, was because of the intense opposition to the program triggered by Rachel Carson’s book and driven hard by misguided hypocritical ideologues from countries that had already reduced malaria using DDT. If, instead, DDT had been given active support, there would have been much more mosquito eradication in Africa and many fewer deaths. If over time DDT, as seems likely, had become less effective, there would still have been heaps of time to develop the next step.

Instead, millions have died, and only now are we looking at a possible vaccine which is undoubtedly far too little, far too late, and far too expensive.

Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 27, 2017 2:01 pm

Mike Jonas, you are perpetuating a myth that is every inch as silly as the global warming myth. It simply isn’t supported by the facts.

Millions die of tuberculosis and HIV every year, in the very same countries also afflicted by severe malaria. All these diseases can be controlled – not eradicated, but kept in check – with simple measures of hygiene. The reasons that prevent these diseases from being controlled are the same ones that prevent malaria from being controlled. They are social, economical, and political.

Phil Rae
Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 28, 2017 8:46 am

Michael Palmer says,

“Mike Jonas, you are perpetuating a myth that is every inch as silly as the global warming myth. It simply isn’t supported by the facts.
Millions die of tuberculosis and HIV every year, in the very same countries also afflicted by severe malaria. All these diseases can be controlled – not eradicated, but kept in check – with simple measures of hygiene. The reasons that prevent these diseases from being controlled are the same ones that prevent malaria from being controlled. They are social, economical, and political.”

Are you sure about this, Michael? It’s true that DDT is not (and has never been) banned internationally but it’s use was severely restricted by legislation arising from the misinformation in Carson’s infamous book. This ultimately led to the 1972 ban of DDT in the US which then resulted in curtailment of funding by USAID (and others) for any projects where DDT was being used, internationally (including Africa). With funding cut, many poorer countries had no option but to stop using DDT regardless of its availability from non-US sources. It’s also worth noting that DDT was extremely effective against the tsetse fly which carries trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness). The disease was almost routed thanks to DDT use in the 1960s but has enjoyed a resurgence since the insecticide was marginalised. As I’m sure you are aware, the re-introduction of DDT in several countries in the past 10-15 years has (unsurprisingly) dramatically reduced malaria rates once again. So, while Carson never emphatically called for a ban on DDT, her book acted as a lightning rod for the nascent environmental movement, ultimately leading to the de facto ban with its attendant consequences.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 28, 2017 1:42 pm

DDT is as harmless to humans when properly handled, as glyphosate. The problem for both has been the campaign to vilify them by using whatever distortions of scientific method or statistical representations necessary.

Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 28, 2017 4:51 pm

Mike Jonas March 27, 2017 at 1:38 pm
Michael Palmer – Not so. Your link says “Most malaria fatalities occur in Africa. On this continent, no comprehensive effort has ever been made to control or eradicate malaria; instead, all such projects occurred only on a local or regional scale, and many were abandoned after only a few years.“. The reason that no comprehensive effort was made, and that those projects that did start were abandoned, was because of the intense opposition to the program triggered by Rachel Carson’s book and driven hard by misguided hypocritical ideologues from countries that had already reduced malaria using DDT. If, instead, DDT had been given active support, there would have been much more mosquito eradication in Africa and many fewer deaths. If over time DDT, as seems likely, had become less effective, there would still have been heaps of time to develop the next step.

Basically with DDT you have about 3-4 years to eradicate malaria, if you haven’t eradicated by then the population comes back with immunity (also with immunity to pyrethroids). There’s no disadvantage to possessing the resistant gene so the resistance persists in the population so that if there’s an outbreak you’ve just got a few months of effective use of DDT. The ban was mostly to stop widespread use of DDT (in the US it was mainly being used on cotton fields) which was just producing resistant populations. The present strategy in Africa is to use DDT in a targeted way in the homes (spraying on walls, bed nets etc. which is much more effective. Continuing with DDT would just have produced a resistant population to both DDT and pyrethroids and the malaria would have gone back up.

Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 28, 2017 10:04 pm

Michael Palmer, you should have a long talk with Dr. Pau Reiter in the Pasteur Institute in Paris, a world renknown scientist expert in malaria. He doesn’t support yur vire on DDT. Sin ce 1770 I have traveled extensively the Amazon jungle in Brazil, Venezuela, Perú, Ecuador and Bolivia, and we found almost no malaria cases until 1975, after the DDT ban was enforced in all south American countres -except Ecuador, that remained with very few cases because Ecuador kept its malaria control program using DDT. In my country, Argentina, DDT is strictly prohibited and huge fines and court trials have been going on when some DDT bags or boxes are found in old warehouses. The DDT paranoia is so big thanks to green activists that push the “BAD DDT MYTH” that leads to big money spending for cleaning the área (sometimes several block in a city).

And my question is: why DDT was succesful in eradicating malaria from many countries in the 40s 50s and 60s (you forgot to mention the southern USA, Italy, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and many more), but failed in others. It was because programs were bad designed and conducted, not because DDT couldn’t do its job. But the WHO had non-officially banned DDT spraying in 1972 and it was only in September 2006 when Dr. Arata Kochi, Director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Program managed to lift the DDT ban and encouraged its use in internal house spray. Of course, greens went up in rage, foaming, and reverted the permission. But all those years from 1972 to 2017 millions have died from plasmodium falciparum, thanks to the ban.

Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 29, 2017 6:40 am

Eduardo, before you lecture me on educating myself or on why I forgot to mention this or that, why don’t you put in some educational effort first and read that paper that I linked to above. In it, I discuss the role DDT played eradicating malaria in Italy, Cuba and other places. I also state there that neither environmental nor human toxicity of DDT are significant, as far as malaria control is concerned.

What is also true, though, is that

1. many countries have never even tried to eradicate malaria, using DDT or otherwise; and in many of the countries that did try, the attempt was botched
2. where DDT has been widely used, resistance is on the march; DDT’s effectiveness is not what it used to be
3. the widespread use of DDT in agriculture has probably accelerated the development of resistance
4. the resistance of malaria plasmodia to drugs, chloroquine in particular, has most likely played a greater role in the resurgence of malaria than mosquito resistance to and declining use of DDT

I have absolutely nothing against DDT and would support its use wherever it remains effective; however, favourable long-term results will only be obtained if this is combined with proper surveillance, environmental sanitation, healthcare, etc. Reducing the whole malaria problem to the lack of DDT use is naive in the extreme. Just because it is a convenient stick to beat the environmentalists with doesn’t make it true.

March 27, 2017 4:09 am

The only problem will be the price will be set so high poor people can’t get it, then the SJWs will be in the streets screeching about the evil pharmaceutical companies killing poor people. See how that works? As soon as anyone develops a “cure” for anything government regulators jack the price of it up so no one can afford it, then blame the “free market” and “capitalism” Meanwhile the purported “cure” for whatever gets disappeared, or is altered in some manner so it is ineffective against what it was created to fight.

Reply to  2hotel9
March 27, 2017 4:29 am

if we can kep it in Aus then prices are likely to be fair to low
however if it goes to you in usa and the fda
then it will be like so many cheap drugs,
beyond any justification unaffordable
that said
the aus created HPV vaccine got the full pr and pharma treatment due to deals done, and is obscenely priced and frankly likely to do more harm than good as time progresses.

Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 27, 2017 10:54 am

I can’t see why the US would want this. Malaria is mostly third world. Only people who travel might need the vaccine. Right now, Zika probably is more important to the US.

Reply to  2hotel9
March 27, 2017 4:38 am

I have some hope for this. It’s already into human trials. There’s no need for a multinational pharmaceutical company to get involved. Once it’s approved, a generic manufacturer can sell it at a reasonable price and still make a reasonable profit.

Reply to  2hotel9
March 27, 2017 5:27 pm

The price of medicine depends on those who have the right. If it can be produced freely, It will be cheap. In Tanzania the Price for 2000 pcs of Paracetamol in a box was $ 1,50.

March 27, 2017 4:12 am

Good stuff….. Smart cookies us Queenslanders. It’s because we’re awesome, but I don’t like to skite. 😉

Another Ian
Reply to  J.H.
March 27, 2017 12:50 pm


Checked the politicians lately?

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Another Ian
March 28, 2017 1:49 pm

Now, that was funny! I don’t care where you are!

BILL Marsh
March 27, 2017 4:14 am

But the US Gov can spend $1.8 billion per year (or more) to ‘fight’ a minuscule temperature increase that is rumored to cause an increase in malaria cases.

Reply to  BILL Marsh
March 27, 2017 4:31 am

our aus govt also wastes funds they could use for this as well, ‘trunbull” for all his hight tech/science support verbiage
really has not an inkling of nous as to whats worth funding.

Reply to  BILL Marsh
March 27, 2017 10:56 am

Yes, that is the truly vile part of global warming—it takes funds that could make people’s lives better and longer and throws it at useless fake energy sources and enriches governments.

Reply to  Sheri
March 27, 2017 12:18 pm

I call it the “Social Cost of Stupidity”

March 27, 2017 4:17 am

Oh, and in the name of full disclosure, I am a malaria “sufferer”, have been since 1978.

March 27, 2017 4:31 am

I listened to him on the radio and was thinking, all they need is a million dollars for a real scientific progress. All the government money is gone on CAGW……..

March 27, 2017 4:35 am

If the altered parasite cannot multiply, then how do they produce the large amount of parasite required to make millions of vaccine doses? I’ve never quite understood that.

Scott Scarborough
Reply to  billpatt
March 27, 2017 5:43 am

Yea. Just like how do they make seedless grapes?

Reply to  Scott Scarborough
March 27, 2017 6:01 am

Yea, I wondered about that, too.

Monna Manhas
Reply to  Scott Scarborough
March 27, 2017 6:46 am

Scott S, seedless grapes are propagated by grafting cuttings onto rootstock.

Reply to  billpatt
March 27, 2017 5:52 am

It might be a temperature-sensitive mutant — able to multiply only below human body temperature.

Reply to  billpatt
March 27, 2017 5:56 am

Can’t multiply within the vaxxed body, I reckon, is what is meant in the article. In the lab, different story.

Reply to  Holly Louise
March 27, 2017 6:41 am

Yes, but that still leaves the question how to engineer this. Temperature-sensitive mutants would be one possibility; another one would be to knock out some biosynthetic pathway, the product of which can be supplied in vitro but is unavailable in vivo.

Reply to  billpatt
March 27, 2017 10:32 am

I suspect they have a variant to the virus that only produces “mules”. As long as they maintain the “seed stock” that produces only sterile mutations they will have enough to continue production. How exactly do they continue to produce “seed stock” is another issue.
Another issue is that this method requires the hosts immune system to recognize, not the causal virus, but the damage due to its effects. Does this method require the victim to receive essentially large enough of a dose of fully active, yet reproductively sterile, viruses to bring about an active case of Malaria ague?
Will the patient experience all the symptoms of full blown malaria, but merely that the disease may never recur?

Reply to  rocketscientist
March 27, 2017 11:22 am

Full blown malaria is experienced when the malaria virus starts replicating inside the body.
It’s possible you may feel minor symptoms after taking this vaccine.

Reply to  rocketscientist
March 27, 2017 11:31 am

Malaria is a parasite, an unicellular animal, not a virus.

Reply to  rocketscientist
March 27, 2017 11:58 am

Other thing you don’t seem to know is that the plasmodium parasite, not a virus, has a life cicle with two stages, a sexual stage that happens inside the mosquito, and an asexual stage that takes place inside the human body, more specifically, inside hepatic cells in first place, and inside red blood cells in second place. When the unicellular animal (not a virus) reproduces inside red blood cells, they end up destroying them, which causes the disease.

Now if the altered parasite fails to reproduce inside red blood cells, it does not destroy them, but it could trigger the immune response, so when the immunized person is exposed to the real unaltered parasite, it will respond and destroy it.

Reply to  rocketscientist
March 27, 2017 1:48 pm

so you feed plasmodia to the anopheles and set them free
and any skeeterbit creature gets vaccinated

Reply to  billpatt
March 27, 2017 10:58 am

One would guess there are plenty of parasites that can multiply that can be altered genetically. Or maybe it’s like mules—you can get many, many mules using horses and donkeys. Mules just don’t often make a more mules.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
March 27, 2017 4:59 am

Like commieBob I noted that they are already into apparently successful human trials, which is brilliant. I think there is legitimate concern about the eventual pricing, hopefully some of the money wasted on utterly trivial climate “research” which is useless to everybody on whatever part of the spectrum of the debate they fall, can be used for this instead. Yes and good for the Aussies…

March 27, 2017 5:07 am

If this pans out, the Gates Foundation or a consortium of like groups will step in and fund distribution. Kudos to the group developing this on the cheap and under the covers, so to speak, until they got good results.

Reply to  rbabcock
March 27, 2017 6:29 am

When governments and UN get involved its availability will drop, as has been the case with every medical breakthrough directed to 3rd World populations. Just look at the debacle of AIDs treatment.

Reply to  2hotel9
March 27, 2017 8:17 am

Rumours will swirl in Africa, “The Evil Colonialist are injecting our poor people with malaria!” and the 1 in a hundred that still get malaria after the vaccine will “prove” the plot. Meanwhile white antivaxers will howl about the vaccine being GMO.

Reply to  2hotel9
March 28, 2017 6:22 am

” …. every medical breakthrough …. “?
I refer you to the Rotary International campaign to eradicate polio.

Reply to  Oldseadog
March 28, 2017 8:58 am

Which began when? Was created when? Was declared successful when? Had what level of UN control over it? Had what level USG control over it? Polio vaccination success is old news, polio making a comeback because of the anti-vac whackjobs and interference by, wait for it, wait for it, The United Nations. Thank you very much. UN does not want disease eradicated, they want money, people with diseases are donation generators, people without diseases are a drain on donation totals.

March 27, 2017 5:21 am

This is great research. I hope it proves effective and one day malaria goes the way of leprosy. Sadly, we must be aware of “philanthropic” agents who would likely negotiate deals with the US or other governments to “give away” treatments to third world areas in order to set artificially high prices domestically.

For example, ever wonder why certain AIDS treatments are offered for free or at very low cost in parts of Africa but cost $1,000 – 2,000 per month in the US? Look no further than the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). Domestic drug makers know they will not have sales success competing against generics in third world countries, so they give away product there in order to poison those markets for foreign generic drug makers. Then they make up the difference, and more, with market conditions at home negotiated with the backing of the CHAI and similar agents. It is simply pay to play. Taxpayers and domestic consumers pay while a few trough-feeders play.

The more important and amazing the discovery is, the more subject to abuse for political power and politically guaranteed profit. Just one reason that the actual cost of health care is far higher in the US than for the rest of the world.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  sciguy54
March 27, 2017 8:27 am

I think CHAI was struck off in March 2008 for failing to file financial returns for two years, retroactively to Dec 2007. There is an ongoing investigation into how the Aus PM arranged to give $100m to CHAI after that date. I mean, it was given to a non-existent corporate body.

Follow the money. No accounting of course, comes from non-existent NGO’s so none did.

The note about big pharma’s undercutting of the generics market is well made. The deliveries ‘free’ come with a few strings attached that always involve some or other hegemonic demand for related (or not) acquiescence to some control level. Free hardly every is.

The TPP was largely an attempt to get the nation’s to agree to respect each others IP, meaning generic prices would decatuple and the $$ would head from the poor to the US. The health industry is more industry than health, it seems.

March 27, 2017 5:50 am

This is terrific news if it works out.

March 27, 2017 5:52 am

“Professor Good hopes his new approach will be different”

So do we all.

March 27, 2017 6:03 am

Reward good research at the expense of climate change theatrical plays and psych ops research on deniers.

March 27, 2017 6:37 am

DDT, swamp drainage (or lakeconversion) and window screens. Works every time.

March 27, 2017 6:43 am

Eradication of Anopheles mosquitoes will prevent malaria for everyone, forever, just as other diseases have been eradicated in certain areas (Yellow fever in the western hemisphere) by the extinction of their vectors.

Reply to  tadchem
March 27, 2017 6:56 am

Much simpler, if we left all the “carbon” in the ground, malaria would disappear entirely. AR4 proved it.

Reply to  tadchem
March 27, 2017 10:57 am

Unfortunately, eradication will deprive other animals of their food supply and will upset a finely balanced food chain.

Reply to  Greytide
March 28, 2017 5:38 pm


General P. Malaise
March 27, 2017 6:54 am

is Bill Gates funding this?

March 27, 2017 6:54 am

The immune system looks at that and thinks that it’s really seeing the malaria,

What moronic language. The immune system does not “look” neither does it “think”. Even if it could think it would “think” it was seeing a malaria virus which it has never encountered.

Scientists are awfully bad at being condescending.

Reply to  Greg
March 27, 2017 10:23 am

Malaria is not a virus. It is a parasite.

March 27, 2017 6:58 am

Having had malaria four times myself, I can only say that if this actually works it would be a huge improvement.

Thanks, Eric,


General P. Malaise
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 27, 2017 7:30 am

Willis ….then by the vaccination definition of how they work you are immune 4 times over.

I am not a fan of big pharma. I would love to see something like this work, but I don’t trust many of the players.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 27, 2017 10:48 am

If the human body’s T-cells learn to attack the damage done by malaria viruses, as this research claims, then what would prevent the malaria to recur?
If this new method only “teaches” the immune system to recognize and attack damaged cells, then how will it stop the victim from being re-infected by fecund malaria viruses?

Reply to  rocketscientist
March 27, 2017 11:26 am

According to the article. The t-cells learn to attack infected cells before they can release the next round of malaria parasites.

Nigel S
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 27, 2017 3:03 pm

I stand to be corrected but I’ve always understood that either malaria killed you straight away or if you were lucky it just kept recurring. This certainly seemed to be the case with my father who caught malaria in Surabaya after fighting the Japanese in Burma with 5th Indian Division. It plagued him all his life although he lived to order the champagne for his 90th birthday. General Slim (later Field Marshal) who turned ‘Defeat into Victory’ was very strict with his men about taking mepacrine.

‘Slim had an excellent relationship with his troops – the “Forgotten Army”, as they called themselves. In his book, Defeat into Victory, he tells of the malaria rates among his units being 70%, largely due to noncompliance by his soldiers with the foul-tasting mepacrine they refused to take. Slim did not blame his medics for this problem, but placed the responsibility on his officers. “Good doctors are no use without good discipline. More than half the battle against disease is fought not by the doctors, but by the regimental officers”. After Slim dismissed a few officers for high unit malaria rates, the others realised he was serious and malaria treatment was enforced, dropping the rate to less than 5%. The combat effectiveness of his army was thus greatly enhanced. This physical and mental turnaround in the army under him was a contributing factor to the eventual defeat of the Japanese in Burma. George MacDonald Fraser, later author of The Flashman Papers series of novels, then a nineteen-year-old lance corporal, recalled:

But the biggest boost to morale was the burly man who came to talk to the assembled battalion … it was unforgettable. Slim was like that: the only man I’ve ever seen who had a force that came out of him… British soldiers don’t love their commanders much less worship them; Fourteenth Army trusted Slim and thought of him as one of themselves, and perhaps his real secret was that the feeling was mutual.’

March 27, 2017 7:08 am

Yes, but what do the models say? But if this does work as hoped, it’s a lock for a Peace Prize.

March 27, 2017 7:08 am

In a way, this is a very old-fashioned approach — attenuated live vaccines against smallpox and tuberculosis were invented more than 100 years ago.

Like malaria, tuberculosis taxes the immune system to its limits, and no vaccine based on only one or the other of the germ’s macromolecules has been found as effective as the attenuated live vaccine (and even that has limited effectiveness). So, the approach taken here might indeed prove more successful than previous ones; I certainly hope it will.

Meanwhile, it bears mention that malaria is a problem that can be overcome without the use of any magic bullets, simply by means of thorough environmental management. This was readily demonstrated only a few short years after Ronald Ross’ discovery that the parasite was transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. Great success was achieved by Malcolm Watson, a British sanitarian in what is now Malaysia, and by Colonel Gorgas in the Panama Canal Zone. A good account of both these events is Watson’s book
Rural Sanitation in the Tropics.

A more detailed account of Watson’s own work in Malaysia is his book “The Prevention of Malaria in the Federated Malay States”. I have put a reformatted version of this book online, too, but I am still in the process of proofreading it.

March 27, 2017 7:38 am
Steve from Rockwood
March 27, 2017 10:25 am

Saving millions from malaria is probably easier than keeping millions from starving to death after their vaccinations.

Reply to  Steve from Rockwood
March 27, 2017 11:00 am

Indeed. They have to be fed and the population increase will be enormous in countries tht already cannot support their populations.

Berényi Péter
Reply to  Greytide
March 27, 2017 11:58 am

There are two universal preconditions to stop population explosion:
1. Decrease infant mortality
2. Provide proper schooling for girls
A vaccine against malaria is a great step towards (1), so only condition (2) should be met.
Increasing life expectancy never leads to population explosion, because no one is able to produce more than one old fart by not dying early.

March 27, 2017 11:24 am

I hope this works out. We’re never going to get DDT back, so a vaccine is the best way to save these people from maleria.

John MacDonald
Reply to  Sheri
March 27, 2017 1:14 pm

I used to think so too. Then I read Michael Palmer’s post at 5:47 and the link he provided.

Unlike Willis, I have not personally suffered malaria. But workers I supervised in Sudan would too often not show up for work suddenly and the story was always malaria. I witnessed its onset one day as a strong young man collapsed in a matter of hours and had to go home. I am sure his family suffered too from the lack of income.

Reply to  John MacDonald
March 27, 2017 2:35 pm

Do you really think we can get DDT back? Or that mosquito nets work? I guess I just think that this is the best shot. Maybe not.

Reply to  John MacDonald
March 27, 2017 6:40 pm

I get sudden onset with common cold/flu. Wake up in morning feeling fine, in 6 or so hours I have high fever, severe chills and muscle spams, vomiting and rapid dehydration. Another 6 hours or so and it passes, feel like crap for a day or so after, otherwise fine. I always connected this to having had malaria, was not until I had gone through extensive testing after being diagnosed with sjogrens syndrome that a doctor gave that any consideration. None will say yea/nay, all say maybe.

Berényi Péter
March 27, 2017 11:51 am

Prof Good said the vaccine used a form of the malaria parasite that lives in red blood cells, but has had its DNA altered so it cannot ­multiply and therefore does not cause disease.

So, it is GM stuff. In that case Greenpeace would certainly fight it to the bitter end.

Reply to  Berényi Péter
March 27, 2017 2:36 pm

Right after they outlaw insulin from ecoli bacteria and three-parent babies, I assume.

Robert Clemenzi
March 27, 2017 1:06 pm

On the same topic, but a bit more SF – there will be a free presentation April 28, 2017 in Washington, DC.

The Mosquito, Synthetic Biology, CRISPR, and Malaria
Using Gene Modification and Gene Drive to Eradicate a Disease

They are modifying mosquito genes to kill Plasmodium falciparum in order to completely block the transmission of malaria. This is claimed to be 99.5% effective in the laboratory.

John MacDonald
March 27, 2017 1:09 pm

As a Rotary Club member, I know the power of cooperation and planning. Rotary International has been the leader in fighting Polio for 60 years and worldwide eradication is almost complete.

Rotary has taken up the fight on Malaria as one of its new initiatives. Let’s hope the same success will happen. The connections that Rotary has with WHO, Gates Foundation, and local governments worldwide makes Rotary well positioned to repeat the Polio success, using similar comprehensive approaches.

See here:

Paul Westhaver
March 27, 2017 1:51 pm

It is only the biggest medical breakthrough claim ever!! Malaria kills more people than everything.

I hope it is real. Raising money should be a snap! Except the Malthusians rely on malaria to keep population growth down. No money from the greens!

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
March 27, 2017 7:37 pm

Paul, I think HIV (often combined with TB) kills far more people than malaria. It is interesting, is it not, that huge resources have been put, and are being put, into ‘managing HIV as a chronic condition’ and so little has been put into ‘living with malaria’.

Malaria and Zika are mich greater long term threats than HIV. And guess who is threatened? Real democracy would have those affected have a say in what to work on, and what profit structure is reasonable.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
March 29, 2017 12:56 pm

Eric Worrall March 28, 2017 at 3:13 am
Interestingly there is a complete cure for HIV, but it is hideously dangerous and difficult.

The CCR5 delta32 mutation only works for certain strains of HIV, also in later stage of the infection HIV1 is able to switch to another mode of entry so clearly the possibility of bypassing CCR5 by the virus exists.

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
March 28, 2017 1:47 am

Diabetes keeps killng more than Malaria.

March 27, 2017 2:08 pm

Perhaps this might encourage some Africans to have fewer kids – because more of these kids would survive. I doubt it though.

On the other hand, if White or Yellow man can take over countries in Africa without the disease-risk, that would be bad news for the locals. Let’s not forget that Africa is a very rich continent and disease has been a major reason for these resources being left in the ground.

In the 19th century, the British who went to Nigeria to work as government employees had a life expectancy of a few months. The blacks were brought as slaves to the Americas – because they had some immunity to malaria and yellow fever which the Whites and indigenous peoples did not have.

Reply to  Alfred (Melbourne)
March 27, 2017 10:18 pm

The only way to encourage people to have fewer children is by improving health and wealth and living standards generally. And that will only happen once they get access to cheap and reliable energy, and free markets and the rule of law.

March 27, 2017 2:11 pm

I spent some time on Misima Island. There the mining company wanted to contribute to the populations health as well as their future fund. The two biggest killers of children were malaria and filariasis. They had Townsville University do some research and they soon found a cure, dogs heart worm tablets. Essentially the disease deaths was eradicated quickly. Unintended consequences. The islands population which had been growing at a modest rate since 1910, almost doubled in the next ten years.
With the rate of population increase in Africa currently, can you imagine the increase when malaria is consigned to history?

Reply to  Col
March 27, 2017 2:38 pm

Is letting people die the way to control population?

March 27, 2017 6:49 pm

So, Buckshot, just where do you think new drugs come from, the Tooth Fairy? Forbes puts the cost at around $5 billion. Each. Foe just one. Tufts University puts the cost at $2.6 billion. Of course, most experimental drugs never come to market, so those costs have to be paid for by the profits made on successful drugs. I have read that some 80% of all drug research is done in these United States. Can you guess why? Wnat do you suppose would hppen if you cut their profits to what you think is fair? If you think that “Big Pharma” is making obscene profits, then you should mortgage everything you have and take your retirement savings and invest in “Big Pharma” and get filthy rich. A word of warning, though. Ask your advisor first. Huge profits just aren’t there.

March 27, 2017 8:39 pm

Let’s see the list of possible side effects.
I seriously doubt this vaccine is safer than DDT, which controls more than just malaria

March 27, 2017 10:15 pm

Or we could just spray with DDT, at a fraction of the cost and with greater effect, in perfect safety.

March 27, 2017 10:22 pm

Now, QLD researchers, how ’bout a vaccine against the other million Antipodean stingers, biters, chewers, and thumpers that have it in for homo sapiens?

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