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New mRNA Vaccines Offer Hope for Fighting Malaria

A pair of messenger RNA vaccines has shown promise in both treating malaria infection and reducing its transmission in study published in NPJ Vaccines this week, offering hope for a new tool to combat this deadly, mosquito-transmitted infectious disease. In light of the successes around mRNA vaccines for SARS-CoV-2, a George Washington University-led team evaluated two vaccines based on that technology that each target a different protein critical for the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The first protein, PfCSP, helps the parasite move and invade a host's liver, while the second, Pfs25, allows it to reproduce in the midgut of mosquitos. The researchers administered the vaccines to mice, then challenged the animals with P. falciparum infection. They find that both treatments induced potent immune responses to protect the mice against infection as well as reduced P. falciparum transmission to healthy mosquitos exposed to the parasite. Notably, the vaccines proved highly effective when administered together, which may represent an effective way to interrupt malaria transmission and help achieving malaria elimination goals, the study's authors write.

The Scan

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.

Genome-Wide Analysis Sheds Light on Genetics of ADHD

A genome-wide association study meta-analysis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder appearing in Nature Genetics links 76 genes to risk of having the disorder.

MicroRNA Cotargeting Linked to Lupus

A mouse-based study appearing in BMC Biology implicates two microRNAs with overlapping target sites in lupus.

Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.