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A vaccine against malaria: five minutes with . . . Richard Bucala

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n651 (Published 08 March 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n651

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  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The Yale professor explains how his team’s malaria vaccine candidate—which uses similar technology to the RNA covid-19 vaccines—came to be and how he is working with the Oxford Vaccine Group to test it

“It’s been next to impossible, historically, to create a vaccine against malaria. The reason it’s been so difficult is because the infection is not associated with sterile immunity. In other words, once you’re infected, you’re always infected at some level, and even if you become cured of the infection with antibiotics or other measures, you are constantly at risk for being reinfected. The main problem seems to be the lack of effective protective memory, particularly T cell memory. We have a seasonal flu vaccine, for instance. We’re exposed to the …

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