Research ArticleMalaria

An open-label phase 1/2a trial of a genetically modified rodent malaria parasite for immunization against Plasmodium falciparum malaria

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Science Translational Medicine  20 May 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 544, eaay2578
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aay2578

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GMOs for good

Despite decades of progress and a multitude of approaches, a durable malaria vaccine remains elusive. Two new clinical studies in this issue report initial testing of genetically engineered malaria vaccines in malaria-naïve adults. Roestenberg et al. studied PfSPZ-GA1, a Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite vaccine attenuated by deletion of b9 and slarp. Reuling et al. examined PbVac, sporozoites of the rodent-specific parasite P. berghei modified to express the circumsporozoite protein from P. falciparum. Both vaccines were well tolerated and immunogenic. Controlled malaria challenge also indicated some evidence of protection. These genetically engineered vaccines are part of the new wave of malaria vaccines and warrant further clinical testing.

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