Research ArticleMalaria

Complete attenuation of genetically engineered Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites in human subjects

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Science Translational Medicine  04 Jan 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 371, eaad9099
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad9099

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A triple punch knocks out the malaria parasite

Vaccination with weakened infectious forms of the malaria parasite is the most promising approach to protect against malaria infection. However, creating genetically defined and weakened parasite strains that are safe for vaccination remains challenging. In a new study, Kublin et al. show that genetic engineering of the malaria parasite by the precise removal of three genes creates a parasite strain that infects humans and is well tolerated but cannot cause malaria. These genetically attenuated parasites thus appear safe for vaccination and stimulate the human immune system to generate responses that have the potential to block infection.

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