Scientists in ABU develop malaria vaccine candidate

Scientists in ABU develop malaria vaccine candidate

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A professor with the Biochemical Parasitology Department, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nasiru Shua’ibu, and his team have recorded positive outcomes from an ongoing research for malaria vaccine candidate.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Zaria, Kaduna State, on Tuesday, Shu’aibu said the new vaccine candidate was different from others currently under trial.

Shu’aibu, who works with scientists at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Japan, said the result of the research on the new vaccine would soon be out for Nigerians to use.

The don said, “In a simple term, the content of this malaria vaccine research is called DNA Vaccine.

“It is a new technology for discovery and delivery of vaccine against any infectious disease that was developed in the early to mid 1990s.

“The DNA of the malaria parasite was extracted and the portion of the DNA that is tested to be a good vaccine candidate is subjected to molecular biology methods, which are used to produce a lot of the DNA.

“Then a method of cloning is now used to insert the DNA into a vehicle that will carry the DNA into either animal or human body.

“It is then injected into the body of the animal or human and it eventually enters the cells of the animal in the same way a virus enters and infects cells.

“The injected DNA now uses the cells in the body to produce chemicals that will prevent malaria from infecting the body.”

He said the vaccine was different from any of the licensed vaccines like polio and other EPI vaccines.

The don added that the approach was also different from the other malaria vaccine (RTS,S/AS01) that was likely to be licensed but the goals were the same in terms of controlling and eliminating malaria.

He observed that Nigeria, with over 170 million people, constituted the highest malaria burden in Africa and in the world.

Shu’aibu also doubted the figures from the National Malaria Control Programme indicating the disease is being contained.

“The tools currently used to fight malaria are not sufficient to have a substantial and sustained impact that is needed to resolve the malaria crisis in Nigeria,” he said.

PUNCH.

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