Seattle scientist seeks a better malaria vaccine

Xconomy's Luke Timmerman tracked down Stefan Kappe, a scientist at the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, to discuss his quest to find a vaccine that is 90 percent effective against malaria. Kappe has identified an experimental vaccine that will begin clinical trials next year at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. And he fully expects to take about 10 years to complete the vaccine work.

"We don't have a vaccine," Kappe told Xconomy. "For nearly 100 years, people have tried. It's one of the highest priorities in medicine, but we haven't been able to accomplish it."

Kappe's work has focused on the role of live-attenuated vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, for finding a more effective jab. He believes that approach will be more effective than the whole-killed vaccines that stimulate an immune response by appearing to be a virus. By concentrating on the full genetic blueprint of the parasite responsible for malaria, he could delete the genes necessary for the parasite to develop in the liver and deliver that modified parasite as a vaccine. It worked in mice and will now be tested in humans.

- read the report from Xconomy