Mosquitoes and malaria? No problem!

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Malaria
Malaria enters humans from the saliva of mosquitoes as a microorganism – a microscopically small creature – called a Plasmodium. This picture shows the Plasmodium in the form that enters humans.

Malaria is a horrible disease that humans get from malaria-infected mosquitoes. When the bug bites a person, it transmits nasty parasites into his or her body. According to the World Health Organization, malaria infected around 219 million people and killed approximately 660,000 of them in 2010. It’s a pretty serious disease, huh? Well, you’ll be glad to know that on Thursday, US researchers announced that a vaccine is well on it’s way to saving many lives.

A vaccine is when a disease is live, killed, or weakened and put into your body. Since the disease is not as strong as usual, your body can fight it easily, and remember how to defeat it. That way, if the full-blown disease ever comes along, it doesn’t stand a chance!

The researchers from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases worked with several scientists to test a vaccine created by a company called Sanaria. Based on the results of the experiments, 100% of the adults who participated appeared to be protected from the deadly disease.

The study tested 40 people and gave them some of the vaccine at different doses. It’s turns out that the more shots a person got, the less likely they were to get infected. For example, 6 people received 5 shots each, and not a single one of them got the disease! This is huge news! Still, the researchers commented that there is much more testing that needs to be completed before the vaccine can be used in hospitals and clinics.

“This is not a vaccine that’s ready for travelers to the developing world anytime soon,” said William Schaffner, head of the preventive medicine department at Vanderbilt University’s medical school.

Once the vaccine is tested more fully, the company Sanaria believes it will be great for tourists, business people, and the military, all of whom travel around the world.