The fact that it requires 4 shots, is 40% effective and good for only 7 years (targeting infants, who are most at risk) demonstrates not only how devastating malaria is (that this would be considered useful), but also how evolution of parasites works. @glipsnort would know much more on this.
That old be a good start with the promise of improvements. It also was sort of interesting how mission groups make such a big deal to get the malaria pills, when visiting a population that just accepts the risk out of necessity.
At least in some missionary situations, if you become deathly ill from malaria, insurance will not fly missionaries out as emergency evacuation if they are not compliant with their prophylactic meds. They have to pay the several hundred thousand dollar bill on their own.
Malaria and the sufferings it causes do put my own woes into perspective.
Plasmodium falciparum (the malaria parasite in question) is very good at evading the human immune system. It spends most of its time in the host hiding out inside red blood cells, safe from recognition. It does export some proteins to the surface of the red blood cell, but the most prominent of these are coded for by multiple gene copies; the parasites switch off from one copy to another, slightly different copy during the course of an infection, leaving the immune system playing catch-up. As a result, those living in malaria endemic regions only gradually acquire partial immunity to malaria.
As for the vaccine . . . I may be bound by an NDA. I’ll have to check.
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