Researchers showcase malaria vaccine project to public

Institute for Glycomics and the Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery will explore the effects Zika virus has on neurological cells.

Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics will open its doors to the public to showcase to the community its malaria vaccine project.

The malaria vaccine research team, led by Professor Michael Good, have just finished clinical trials conducted at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus this year and have been working closely with expert infectious disease clinicians at Gold Coast University Hospital.

This is the second round of clinical trials to be conducted by the Institute for Glycomics to examine malaria vaccine strategies in humans.

Institute for Glycomics Research Fellow and clinical trials coordinator Dr Danielle Stanisic said defeating malaria was critical to ending poverty and improving maternal and child health.

Institute for Glycomics Professor Michael Good and Dr Danielle Stanisic.
Institute for Glycomics Professor Michael Good and Dr Danielle Stanisic.

“There are currently 214 million cases of malaria across 109 different countries. Of the 500,000 sufferers who die each year, 80 per cent are young children who are simply not strong enough to fight off the killer parasite,” Dr Stanisic said.

“Opening our doors to the public is a terrific opportunity to spread the word about the research we are doing.”

This showcase of its major research focus comes after World Malaria Day was marked on April 25.

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites and transmitted by certain species of mosquito found in tropical and sub-tropical regions

Dr Stanisic said the research would not be possible without the help of Rotary, who raised $8500 to buy the Institute a critical piece of equipment used to manufacture its malaria vaccine, PlasProtecT®.

Rotarians Against Malaria is a volunteer-run organisation working to eliminate malaria. RAM has raised more than $1.6 million to eliminate malaria since 2003.

“Research like this needs vision and support if it is to be onoing. Both qualities clearly exist at the Institute for Glycomics and the Rotary Club of Southport, Dr Stanisic said.

The Institute’s Director, Professor Mark von Itzstein, said the Institute for Glycomics was “delighted to have the very generous support of our local Rotarians”.

“This provides an excellent opportunity to show the world the outstanding advances towards an effective malaria vaccine that are being made within our Institute,” he said.

The Institute will open its doors on May 11 from 6pm with special presentations by malaria researchers, including Dr Stanisic and Professor Good. The public will have to chance to tour the facility, speak with malaria researchers and view what a malaria parasite looks like under the microscope.   Please RSVP to Regina Tucker at r.tucker@griffith.edu.au