Scientists have discovered a rare blood type variant found in East Africa, which can be more effective than the best vaccine available to us in preventing malaria. Experts have said that malaria infiltrates red blood cells in our body through a lock and key system. Malaria vaccine has been developed by hijacking the key or changing the lock in our red blood cells. However, scientists have said that the Dantu gene variant works like a door itself. The Dantu variant shoots up the tension on the red blood cell surface. It becomes as if the parasite still has the key to the lock but the door is too heavy for it to open.
Experts have claimed that the current vaccine, which we have, provides only 35 percent of protection from the deadliest form of the ailment. After observing thousands of genomes, experts have come up with the Dantu blood variant. It is a genetic trait linked to human blood cells; it provides incredible protection against malaria. Experts have found that a single copy of the Dantu gene has granted 40 percent protection against all severe types of malaria. They have said that individuals who have inherited two copies of this gene, one copy from each parent, their protection levels go up to 74 percent. The study has said that the protection provided by the Dantu gene is nearly at par with the sickle-cell trait. The sickle-cell trait is well known for its great protection against malaria and other forms of severe ailments.
However, experts have said that two copies of the Dantu gene do not have any adverse health effects. They simply provide higher levels of protection against malaria. Scholars have observed blood samples from 42 healthy children. They have conducted a trial to see how the Dantu gene reacts to Plasmodium falciparum, which is the deadliest form of the disease. Experts have said that this specific gene creates a tight cell membrane, which refrains parasite from causing infection. Malaria is an ailment triggered by the five species of mosquito-borne parasites. The deadly disease claims the lives of half of a million people worldwide every year.