Researchers have discovered a key process during the invasion of the blood cell by the Malaria parasite, and have found a way to block this invasion.
With this new knowledge, the scientists from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are looking to collaborate with the industry on a vaccine against malaria which can be developed within the next five years if accelerated by vaccine development companies.
Lead scientist Professor Peter Preiser said his team’s scientific breakthrough will be instrumental in paving the way towards eradicating Malaria in the long run.
The parasitic diseases expert said that they have identified a region of the malaria parasite which it uses to attach to a healthy blood cell then pushes itself into the cell. “To prevent this invasion, we developed antibodies which can interfere with this invasion process. So imagine the parasite has the key to unlock a door to the red blood cell, but we muck the key up, so no matter how hard the parasite tries, the door just refuses to open,” the researcher said.
The patented discovery also opens the doors to new drug targets, which will allow scientists to develop more methods to interfere and disrupt the parasite’s act of invasion.
This research outcome was made possible with the development of a new screening assay that allows the rapid characterization of parasite signalling, which is significantly faster than conventional methods.
The study is published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.