Progress also is being reported in the search for a vaccine against another killer disease--malaria. Scientists say they have found new evidence that suggests they are on the right track in the research to develop a vaccine for malaria, still a major killer in many parts of the world.
Federal researchers say they have found that some people living in a malaria-prone area develop important antibodies in their blood that increase as they age to possibly protect them from the disease.
The antibodies are the same as those that are being tested for a possible long-sought vaccine to the mosquito-borne disease.
"This does not prove anything but is further evidence that supports the idea there are protective effects," said Col. Wayne T. Hockmeyer, chief of the department of immunology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and a co-author of the study published in the current New England Journal of Medicine.
In their study, Hockmeyer and colleagues analyzed blood samples from the inhabitants of a village in Indonesia and found that the percentage of antibodies increases significantly with age.