A US company has been commissioned to help study a vaccine for malaria. EntreMed, Inc, based in Rockville, in the US state of Maryland, was selected as a subcontractor for the development of a federal vaccine for the US National Institutes of Health, according to a press release from the company.
The company, which produces different types of recombinant proteins for vaccines, has the facilities to produce large quantities of them. However, “malaria proteins have been extremely difficult to produce in large quantities for human vaccine trials,” according to Dr Kim Lee Sim, research vice president of EntreMed.
Using research already developed for therapeutic anti-cancer proteins, he said, the company hopes to develop a similar system of producing malaria proteins. As many as 500 million people are infected with the malaria parasite worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. And nearly 1 million people die annually from the disease.
So far, no vaccine is available, malaria usually being treated after it is contracted. A vaccine would be preferable, EntreMed said, because malaria-carrying mosquitoes have become resistant to insecticides and the disease has become resistant to one form of treatment, chloroquine.
“It is widely recognized that an effective malaria vaccine would constitute a significant global health advance,” EntreMed said.