Mar 1, 2021 - Health

RNA technology used for COVID could lead to malaria vaccine

Illustration of a vaccine bottle with a picture of the Earth on its label.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The RNA technology that helped us get a COVID vaccine may help the world get a vaccine for malaria, too.

Driving the news: Scientists have applied for a patent for an RNA-based vaccine that might circumvent the problems that have made it difficult to come up with any kind of malaria vaccine, per the Academic Times.

  • It hasn't been tested on people yet, but one of the investors told the Times that it produced "probably the highest level of protection that has been seen in a mouse model."
  • The only other vaccine we have right now for malaria — which killed 409,000 people throughout the world in 2019, mostly in Africa — is only about 30% effective.

What they're saying: "I'm as excited about the Covid vaccine as anyone, but THIS is huge news," health care economist Aaron Carroll tweeted.

Yes, but: They should really test it on people. Until they do, the breakthrough isn't complete.

  • Still, if Aaron Carroll is excited about it, it's OK to get a little excited.
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