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Global Health Policy Blog


The latest issue of Business 2.0 features an article on Stephen Hoffman and his company Sanaria, which is working to develop a malaria vaccine by irradiating parasite-infected mosquitos.

How Sanaria turns the insects that transmit malaria into incubators for its vaccine:

1) A female Anopheles gambiae mosquito is force-fed human blood infected with the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

2) The newly infected mosquito is zapped with radiation to weaken the parasites.

3) Technicians remove the mosquito's salivary glands, where the irradiated parasites collect.

4) The parasites are purified to remove contaminants, then stored until they can be mixed into a vaccine and injected into subjects to produce immunity.

Hoffman hopes to begin Phase I clinical trials within a year, but based on the preliminary results he believes that Sanaria's vaccine could be up to 90% effective at preventing infection in the short term, far exceeding the 37% effectiveness of the leading GSK vaccine candidate RTS,S and raising the potential to open up global markets for travelers and military personnel in addition to developing country markets.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.