Genomic resource centre

Global applications of genomics in healthcare: India

Development of a malaria vaccine

Setting: research institute

Focus of intervention: community

Background:

Malaria affects a little under a half a billion people worldwide, the widespread form in India being Plasmodium vivax. Currently, the Indian government spends nearly 50% of its health budget to battle this disease. In order to better utilize resources and improve the health of the Indian population, the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in Delhi has been working with the Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), and a pharmaceutical company in India to construct a vaccine to reduce the health burdens. The World Health Organization's Tropical Disease Research Division (TDR) also played a role in the initial development of this vaccine.

Intervention:

The vaccine will be jointly constructed by the three organizations. The malarial parasite P. vivax is known to be increasing its resistance against the anti-malarial drugs currently available. Thus, the vaccine targets a binding protein of the parasite. The protein is responsible for the entrance of P. vivax to bind erythrocytes in the blood, and thus allowing the invasion process. In influencing the binding protein, the malarial infection and proliferation process is affected.

Results:

Promising results are expected. Human trials are yet to be conducted, though it is proposed that this vaccine will be of great use to developing nations as currently no vaccine is on the market, and malaria is still rampant worldwide.

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