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The Elusive Malaria Vaccine: Miracle or Mirage?

Author: Irwin W. Sherman1
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Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside, California; 2: Department of Cell Biology, Institute of Childhood and Neglected Diseases, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California
Content Type: Trade
Format: Electronic, Hardcover
Publication Year: 2009

Category: History of Science; General Interest

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Chronicling a 100-year quest, this book tells the fascinating story of the hunt for the still-elusive malaria vaccine. Its clear, engaging style makes the book accessible to a general audience and brings to life all the drama of the hunt, celebrating the triumphs and documenting the failures. The author captures the controversies, missteps, wars of words, stolen ideas, and clashes of ego as researchers around the world compete to develop the first successful malaria vaccine.

is based on author Irwin W. Sherman’s thorough investigation of the scientific literature as well as his first-hand interviews with today’s pioneers in malaria vaccine research. As a result, the book offers remarkable insights into the keys to a successful malaria vaccine and the obstacles hindering its development.

Malaria is one of humankind’s greatest killers, currently afflicting some 300 to 500 million people. Moreover, malaria infections have begun to spread and surge in places previously free from the disease. With the book’s easy-to-follow coverage of such topics as immunity, immunology, recombinant DNA, and monoclonal antibodies, readers gain a new understanding of the disease itself, the importance of microbe hunters, and the need for responsible leadership to face the challenges that lie ahead in the battle against malaria.

There are no separately available contributors for this publication.

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Doody Enterprises

18 August 2013

At a Glance

Chronicling a 100-year quest, this book tells the fascinating story of the hunt for the still-elusive malaria vaccine. Its clear, engaging style makes the book accessible to a general audience and brings to life all the drama of the hunt, celebrating the triumphs and documenting the failures. The author captures the controversies, missteps, wars of words, stolen ideas, and clashes of ego as researchers around the world compete to develop the first successful malaria vaccine. "The Elusive Malaria Vaccine: Miracle or Mirage?" is based on author Irwin W. Sherman's thorough investigation of the scientific literature as well as his first-hand interviews with today's pioneers in malaria vaccine research. As a result, the book offers remarkable insights into the keys to a successful malaria vaccine and the obstacles hindering its development. Malaria is one of humankind's greatest killers, currently afflicting some 300 to 500 million people. Moreover, malaria infections have begun to spread and surge in places previously free from the disease. With the book's easy-to-follow coverage of such topics as immunity, immunology, recombinant DNA, and monoclonal antibodies, readers gain a new understanding of the disease itself, the importance of microbe hunters, and the need for responsible leadership to face the challenges that lie ahead in the battle against malaria. This book chronicles the successes and failures in the 100-year-old hunt for a malaria vaccine. It offers easy-to-follow explanations that are understandable to a general audience. It provides a unique, single-authored, comprehensive and critical review of malaria vaccines. It incorporates the latest scientific literature as well as viewpoints and perspectives from leaders in malaria vaccine research. It explains the microbiology underlying the discovery of malaria parasites. It helps readers understand why a successful malaria vaccine still does not exist. It serves as essential reading for anyone interested in infectious disease, public health, and public policy regarding malaria prevention and control.

Description

This book describes in detail the unavailing efforts since the 19th century to develop an effective vaccine against malaria.

Purpose

It "chronicles all . . . aspects of the hunt for a malaria vaccine. It tells of the slow and erratic research, the promises of success and the disappointing failures, and the fierce competition between the microbe hunters who have had as their goal a protective malaria vaccine able to reduce morbidity and mortality by one of the world's most notorious assassins." An explanation of why there is still no vaccine is important as new international public health ventures continue to be proposed.

Audience

The audience includes doctoral students, postdoctoral residents, and practitioners in the fields of infectious disease, international public health, and tropical medicine. The book extensively uses terminology specific to protozoan infection research, which requires a deep familiarity with this field. The author has a background in laboratory micropathophysiology.

Features

Each research initiative and laboratory experiment that promised success in developing a malaria vaccine over the past 100 year is covered, as are the personal lives and idiosyncrasies of the major players. The book's general utility would have been improved by adding a glossary of field-specific terms and illustrations of the protozoa discussed.

Assessment

This work is quite specialized and specific in its research focus. Titles that would be more accessible to an informed reader include: The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years, Shah (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010); The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria, Packard (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007); and Humanity's Burden: A Global History of Malaria, Webb (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

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Reviewer: Ralph Arcari, Ph.D. (University of Connecticut Health Center)

Review Date: Unknown

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