Malaria researchers from all parts of the world in Leiden
Researchers from all parts of the world will be in Leiden from 2 to 4 May for a major malaria conference. The Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) is organising a two-day workshop on how vaccines can be tested safely in humans.
During this meeting the LUMC wil be the platform where prominent researchers will present the latest developments in malaria vaccines. Scientists from five different continents will be present. The LUMC was chosen as the conference venue because Leiden parasitologists were the first in the world to genetically manipulate malaria parasites so that they could serve as a malaria vaccine.
Testing safely on healthy humans
Infecting healthy people with malaria and then treating them seems a dangerous process, yet it is safe and it is also the most efficient method of testing a vaccine against the illness. Medical specialist Meta Roestenberg fromthe Department of Parasitology/Immune Diseases at the LUMC.
There are only five places in the world where this research is carried out. To bring together all this knowledge, from 2 to 4 May Roestenberg is organising a workshop on Controlled Human Infection Models (CHIM) for Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases for other researchers from all parts of the world. Representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO) will also be present.
This workshop follows on from the conference on Malaria vaccines for the world. The aim of the workshop is to use the knowledge gained in developing a treatment for malaria and apply it to other diseases. The University of Oxford, for example, is looking at controlled typhus infections.
Roestenberg is studying how people can be infected safely with the parasitic disease bilharzia. ‘The disease affects 200 million people in developing countries. You can contract the disease if you swim in freshwater where there are snails. The disease is transmitted by the larvae of the snails.'