Question: are your methods different to the scientists trying to find vaccine for malaria

  1. Yes, I am trying something quite different, which is exciting, cause I get to do things that no one has ever done before. Of course, it is also a quite risky, as it might not work – but I want to do the experiments to find out if my idea for a malaria vaccine is a good one. And so does Bill Gates, cause he’s the one providing the money to do this research –

    The aim of any vaccine is to train the immune system to fight a particular disease. The most successful vaccines, like for small pox or polio, are made up of a weakened form of the microbe that can’t make you sick and that the immune system can easily fight off and destroy. The cells in the immune system then remember how to recognise and kill the microbe when it attacks for real. But this hasn’t been tried for malaria vaccine.

    The thing is, we know which genes in the malaria parasite cause the disease symptoms during infection, and which genes allow the parasite to survive in the body. So my idea is to remove all these genes, to create a weak form of malaria that won’t make you ill, and will be easy for the immune system to fight and will act as a vaccine to protect against malaria in the future. The reason I will be the first person to try this is because the scientists I work with at the WEHI have perfected a new method for removing genes from the malaria parasite. So I am applying this new method to make a malaria vaccine.