Scientists at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) hope to soon commence human clinical trials for a new vaccine targeting malaria. A funding boost towards this research has been announced by Rupert McCall through the sale of the talking version of his iconic poem Green and Gold Malaria, being officially launched for sale today.
Compared to previous efforts by the scientific community – which resulted in only partial protection – this new approach to fight malaria differs to the traditional method of immunisation, in that it targets all the proteins within the organism and deliberately exposes the subjects to very low numbers of malaria parasites, as opposed to exposure to one of a few proteins using the current approach.
Evidence suggests many reasons behind earlier vaccination failures, including the multiple strains of malaria which make it difficult to identify and target them effectively, as well as the parasite’s ability to stunt the growth of the various cells that would normally trigger an immune response.
Professor Michael Good, Director of QIMR and Head of the Molecular Immunology Group, says that whilst natural immunity is possible, it is only partial and takes several years of regular exposure to develop.
“In parts of the world where malaria is prevalent, the inability to develop rapid natural immunity is primarily responsible for up to 2 million malaria-induced deaths per year, most of which are children under the age of five,” Professor Good said.
“We’re hoping to reduce the overall number of annual reported malaria cases by making it possible to develop an immune response in people that is much more effective than from natural infection. QIMR is very grateful to Rupert McCall and it shows when people unite for a common cause, extraordinary things happen.”
Despite the potential benefit of these trials to the international community, Professor Good admits that to achieve great success in this approach will ultimately take a lot of financial resources – resources that are being consumed much more quickly than they are being replenished.
To this end, and coinciding with the tenth anniversary of his Green and Gold Malaria poem, Rupert McCall is donating a portion of the sale of this special edition release to QIMR’s malaria research. Green and Gold Malaria is a proud and popular tribute to Australian pride and in conjunction with Greg Soden of Flashback Frames and artist Joel Rea, one of the most anticipated memorabilia pieces in recent Australian times.
The framed edition of Green and Gold Malaria with the push button device to activate a verbal recitation, can be purchased by calling Greg Soden or online at www.rupertmccall.com.au for $499.