Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition: Designed Malaria Vaccines
2 July 2018
The malaria parasite is a shape-shifter, changing its surface coat to escape destruction by the human body. This depends upon a malaria protein called RH5 binding to a human protein called basigin on the surface of red blood cells. Unlike the other variable malaria surface proteins, RH5 does not vary, making it more easily recognised and destroyed. Jenner Investigators Sumi Biswas and Simon Draper have immunised human volunteers with RH5. Antibodies isolated from these volunteers prevent the parasite from invading red blood cells. At the RS Summer Science Exhibition they will show the public how it works, using games to detect the unchanging elements in a shape-shifting parasite, 3D models demonstrating of RH5 binding to basigin and antibodies and interactive maps to see the impact of vaccines on global health.