Why are there no vaccines for malaria?

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Mrinal Shah

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Why are there no vaccines for malaria?
« on: 02/06/2008 18:33:24 »
Mrinal Shah asked the Naked Scientists:

Hi my name is Mrinal Shah from Troy, NY and am an avid Naked Scientist listener. I find your podcast very interesting and intriguing.

My questions is: Malaria is a prevalent disease in many developing nations. Why is it that there is no permanent cure for this disease as yet? Moreover, I dont see hear of any of the big pharmas developing a vaccine or drug to cure Malaria since there aren't so many case of it in N. America or Europe.

I hope you can throw some light on this topic.


What do you think?


Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Why are there no vaccines for malaria?
« Reply #1 on: 03/06/2008 09:14:00 »
The malaria parasite is quite successful at avoiding the immune system because it works by infecting red blood cells and multiplying inside them, so they're protected from your immune system while they're sort of hiding inside your own cell, then they burst out of it in greater numbers and very rapidly infect other surrounding blood cells. Also they very rapidly mutate and evolve, while a given drug may wipe out most of a population of the parasites, some will surivive and grow back in greater numbers, most of which are now resistant to the drug you used in the first place.

It is for similar reasons that its so hard to create a vaccine for aids.