In an area of Tanzania where malaria is rife, scientists have found a small group of children who are naturally resistant to the disease. Tests revealed that their immune system produces an antibody that attacks the malaria-causing parasite.
It traps the tiny organism in red blood cells, preventing it from bursting out and spreading throughout the body. The team found that injecting a form of this antibody into mice protected the animals from malaria.
The scientists say the results are encouraging but further trials in primates and humans are needed to fully assess the vaccine’s promise.