Genomes of the malaria mosquito and parasite are sequenced
- By: Phyllida Brown
Celebration greeted last week's announcements by international teams of scientists that they have sequenced the genomes of the principal malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, and the mosquito that carries it.
But the consensus emerging among researchers as they digest the findings is that the greatest barrier to overcoming malaria, the killer of more than a million children a year, is not a lack of knowledge but a severe lack of funding to develop new candidate vaccines and drugs.
“My guess is that in 10 years' time this probably will be seen as a very important event,” said Professor Brian Greenwood, a malaria expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. But although better knowledge of the parasite's proteins will enable immunologists to identify more candidate molecules for vaccines, this will not in itself bring vaccines to market more quickly, he warned. “It is not a lack of candidates that