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Eradicating Malaria is Now a Realistic Goal

BioNTech wants “to help eradicate malaria” by using the same breakthrough mRNA technology it used to develop its coronavirus vaccine, the pharmaceutical company said on Monday. The Germany-based group said it aimed to begin clinical malaria vaccine trials by the end of 2022. If successful, the shot could be a major development in the fight against malaria, which kills more than 400,000 people a year — mainly young children in Africa. The disease is caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. “We will do whatever it takes to develop a safe and effective mRNA-based malaria vaccine that will prevent the disease, reduce mortality and ensure a sustainable solution for the African continent and other regions affected by this disease,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said in a statement. Scientists believe mRNA technology, which prompts an immune response by delivering genetic molecules containing the code for key parts of a pathogen into human cells, could be a game-changer against several diseases. Using this technology is also a faster way of developing a vaccine than traditional methods and could bring an end to the decades-long search for a reliable malaria shot.