and blood cells and completes its transmission through an extensive development inside the mosquito vector. The major life-cycle events of this deadly human parasite are very similar if not identical among all the different animal models. Dr. Kumar points out, “The knowledge that we gain from animal malaria studies can often extrapolate to human malarias.”
Dr. Kumar is using the knowledge that he has gained by studying chicken and murine malaria to develop new vaccines. He tests these new vaccines in mice and nonhuman primates to help assess whether the vaccines will stimulate the correct type of immune responses to cure people of malaria, another example of how studying animals with similar but not identical diseases is helpful.
Dr. Kumar points out that scientists must think carefully about using animals in their research. “We must be careful and judicious in our use of animals,” he says. “We should use them only because there is no other way. There must be real justification for animal use.” With a child dying of malaria every 20 seconds somewhere in the world, he notes, “in this case, there is a justification.”