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Researchers detail the role of PI(3)P in preventing heat-shock-induced cell death and the BK-SE36 adjuvanted malaria vaccine is found to be safe, well-tolerated and protective in clinical trials.
Over the course of its lifecycle, Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites are exposed to different environmental pressures, for example, the high temperatures during the fever episode of human blood-stage infection. Researchers have now found that a particular phosphate – phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate, or PI(3)P, stabilises the digestive vacuole of the parasite preventing heat-shock-induced cell death. Researchers found that PI(3)P-deficient parasites are not able to cope with the fever’s heat and that a PI3P-binding protein, PfHsp70, is also critical for parasite survival under heat stress.
The results are in from a Phase 1a clinical trial of the adjuvanted malaria vaccine, BK-SE36. The trial involved 26 malaria-naive adults and found that the vaccine is safe, well-tolerated and, when given in two doses 21 days apart, offers great protection.
Image Credits: CDC/ Dr. Mae Melvin 
Scientific Advisor: Elena Gómez-Díaz, Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine, Spain