Malaria: Searching for a vaccine

Malaria: Searching For A Vaccine
Human trials of a new malaria vaccine are underway in Seattle.

SEATTLE, Wash. (KING) They were restless and absolutely ravenous.

For 200 malaria-infected mosquitoes, this was meal time on Dr. Rafael Hernandez’s forearm.

“You or I are used to getting one or two or, through camping, maybe 20 mosquito bites at once, not 200 in one spot,” he said.

The sensation tickled at first, then it itched and then it started to hurt, as a cloud of mosquitoes feasted for a full 10 minutes on a rectangular patch of his skin.

Dr. Hernandez, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s, was one of 10 volunteers to bare their arms Wednesday morning in an early test of a vaccine against malaria.

Researcher Stefan Kappe of Seattle Biomed has been working for a decade to reach this milestone. He said there have been plenty of ups and downs.

“Right now we’re on the ‘up’ that we have a very promising strain that is fully attenuated, but the real litmus test for this is the study in humans,” he said.

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