Biologist John H. Adams has been awarded a U.S patent for the potential use of a protein molecule he discovered. The molecule could be used in the world’s first vaccine against malaria.
Adams isolated a molecule in the malaria parasite that allows the parasite to attach itself to human red blood cells, grow and spread throughout the body. The next step for researchers is to develop a vaccine to stimulate the production of antibodies capable of blocking the action.
There are some 600 million cases of malaria annually worldwide, and they result in as many as 3 million deaths.
Adams is an associate professor of biological sciences and a member of the Notre Dame Center for Tropical Disease Research and Training.