BioNTech to Develop mRNA Malaria Vaccine
Good news! The widespread success of the mRNA vaccines against COVID19 have led to a broadened scope of treatment for other persistent human ailments. One such ailment is Malaria – responsible for 409,000 deaths (2019) worldwide and 229 million infections – an effective vaccine would be a welcomed development. BioNTech seeks to have a broad rollout through Africa where Malaria is most present and is most dangerous for children under 5 years old, who account for 67% of all Malaria deaths.
Malaria has been a difficult parasite to treat in the past and very difficult to create a vaccine for, but not for lack of trying – more than 100 vaccine candidates have entered clinical trials. The mRNA approach may be a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic as the research in this field has been accelerated by years out of necessity.
The Malaria pathogen is so difficult to fight because it hides itself so well from the bodies immune system. After entering the blood stream most often through mosquito bites, the pathogen hides itself in the liver cells of the human body. After roughly a week, the cells migrate out into the rest of the body in much larger numbers and multiply quickly. Once this migration takes place the immune system attacks the pathogens but is typically too late to be overly effective. The BioNTech vaccine will attempt to identify the pathogens earlier, therefore attacking them before they have a chance to overwhelm the body.
Source: BioPharma -Reporter