Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites transmitted to humans by mosquito bites, and causes symptoms that typically include fever, fatigue, vomiting and headaches. In the most severe cases, it can also cause yellow skin, seizures, coma and death. The best available treatment is artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), but resistance to antimalarial medicines is a recurring problem that entails big malaria-control efforts. Thus, no definitive antimalarial drug is available right now
SysMalVac is a recently finished European research project, carried out by a consortium formed by specialists in malaria and other scientists and experts, which aims to develop effective vaccines against this disease. It is composed by seven partners that represent each field in the discovery of the desired vaccine: researchers, bioinformaticians, translational biomedicine experts and clinical physicians. The role of Anaxomics in the consortium consisted in integrating experimental in vivo high-throughput data obtained by some of the partners from individuals vaccinated against malaria, and drawing conclusions from all the available information.
Within the project, two vaccines were tested in vivo. Using Anaxomics’s systems biology TPMS technology, we identified biomarkers (or combinations thereof) allowing to differentiate the vaccinated subjects that had been protected from those who hadn’t. This allows to apply these vaccines, preventing the illness for many individuals while avoiding the waste of public health resources which could be more useful. The SysMalVac project finished on January 2015 with promising results, but the members of the consortium will keep working in order to validate the obtained results.
We will soon publish another post about SysMalVac Consortium with more detailed information about the in silico biopharmaceutical solutions used in Anaxomics. If you wish to know how we applied our bioinformatic tools in this project, do not miss our next post!
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