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Monoclonal antibody offers new way to protect against malaria

The only vaccine currently recommended by the WHO is RTS,S (Mosquirix), and although other vaccines are in development, this has traditionally proven to be a difficult area. Although drugs to prevent malaria are available for infants, young children, and travelers, the requirement for frequent dosing can be problematic while the urgency of drug resistance can also limit their usefulness.

“Thus, there is an urgent need for novel, rapid-acting, low-dose interventions that safely provide robust protection against malaria infection,” says the US National Institutes of Health, which conducted the clinical trial of the new monoclonal antibody.

Targeting malaria at the early stage of development

The Institute hopes that the monoclonal antibody CIS43LS can offer a new solution. Phase 2 data has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine​ recently and presented at the 2022 American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene Annual Meeting in Seattle: finding that CIS43LS “protected against P. falciparum infection during a 6-month malaria season with no obvious safety concerns “.

According to the WHO, there were around 241 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2020, resulting in around 627,000 deaths, mostly among children in sub-Saharan Africa. These cases affected more than 11 million pregnant women in Africa, resulting in an estimated 819,000 newborn babies with low birth weight and therefore at increased risk of illness and death.

Malaria is caused by Plasmodiumparasites, which are transmitted by mosquitoes. One of the challenges in developing the arsenal against malaria is to target the right stage in the life cycle of the sporozoites injected into the body.

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