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A Vaccine for Malaria

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mosquito.gif

Mosquito from http://klab.agsci.colostate.edu/mosquito/mosquito.html

Who? National Academy of Sciences

What? Mass production of an effective malaria vaccine using goats' milk.

Where? To be used in Central and South America, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania.

Why? These areas are not only among the poorest regions of the world but also the hardest hit by malaria. Since these areas are so poor, vaccinations need to be easily accessible for little or no money. Also, since living conditions are so poor many people are exposed to the outdoors, leaving them with no protection from the mosquitoes, how malaria is passed. This is why researchers are developing ways to mass-produce vaccines cheaply. If a goat could be used to produce vaccines it would be helpful because goats produce a lot of milk, so a lot of vaccine could be produced from one goat. Enough vaccine for all of Africa could be produced by a herd of goats. Since Africa is the second highest populated continent of the world and has the highest yearly growth rate and only a herd of goats is needed to vaccinate this huge population it would be easily possible to get enough goats to vaccinate all of the poorest regions of the world.

How? Scientists first created transgenetic mice that had the ability to produce the vaccine in their milk. The mice carried a form of the gene from the surface protein of the deadliest form of malaria; these genes were configured so that the cells lining the mammary glands would turn them on. The vaccine from the milk was then tested on monkeys; four out of the five monkeys did not contract malaria. Since mice do not produce much milk another alternative, goats had to be looked at. Luckily there had been experiments done earlier that showed that the same process they used with the mice could be used in larger animals, making goats a promising alternative for the production of the malaria vaccine.

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Mouse from http://www.clipart.co.uk/index.shtml

Click here to go to "Fear Malaria? Get a Goat"