Programmed proteins may make malaria vaccine possible

Programmed proteins may make malaria vaccine possible
A malaria vaccine based on stabilized proteins could be used in tropical places where there is no refrigeration.

Despite decades of malaria research, the disease still afflicts hundreds of millions and kills around half a million people each year – most of them children in tropical regions.

The best deterrent would be a vaccine composed of some of the parasite’s own proteins. However, those proteins identified as most promising for a malaria vaccine are unstable at tropical temperatures and require complicated, expensive cellular systems to produce them in large quantities.

Yet the vaccines are most needed in areas where refrigeration is lacking and funds to buy vaccines are scarce.

Ahead of World Malaria Day (April 25), a new approach developed at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and tested at England’s University of Oxford shows promise as the basis of a future inexpensive malaria vaccine that can be stored at room temperature.

The RH5 protein — one of the malaria parasite’s proteins that has been tested for use as a vaccine — enables the parasite to anchor itself to the red blood cells it infects. Using the protein as a vaccine alerts the immune system to the threat without causing disease, allowing it to mount a rapid response when the disease strikes, and to disrupt the parasite’s cycle of infection.

Read More: Israel 21C

Trigger fingers: The IDF officers responsible for intercepting missiles

7716396099864980552noLt. Dima Kisilov’s first phone call, meanwhile, was to his father. “I asked him if he heard what had happened in Eilat because I was afraid he might be worried,” he says, “but it turns out I had woken him up. So I told him, he was excited for a bit, and then he went back to sleep.”

Before 2nd Lt. Chen Shaked could call his mother, however, she called first, but he wasn’t yet at liberty to tell her what had happened. “She started asking, ‘How are you? How’s your Shabbat going? Is everything okay?'” he says with a smile.

“I told her, ‘Mom, I’ll talk to you later,’ and I called back only after I got permission to tell her. She told me, ‘Well done; you’re protecting our country.’ It was only then that I really got excited and started realizing I had done something important.”

Read More: Y NET

Six-Day War: The Israeli Navy’s commandos ‘suicide missions’

Shayetet 13 (‘Flotilla 13′), the Israeli Navy’s special operations unit, was sent at the start of the Six-Day War on a daring series of missions deep within enemy territory, which included covert assault on harbors in Syria and Egypt.

Those missions can now retroactively be called suicide missions, as in spite of the soldiers’ bravery, the heroic missions failed spectacularly as some of the combatants were even taken captive due to intelligence and navigation errors.

Six-Day War_ The Israeli Navy's commandos 'suicide missions'(1)
Fifty years later, the commandos meet in the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum in Haifa. Even though their average age is above 80, their rough and rugged nature is still clearly apparent. They joke around at each other’s expense, reminisce about the times and the harrowing tortures they suffered in captivity and note that even though the mission failed, it showed the lengths to which the sailors of Shayetet 13 would go to defend their country.

‘There was no chance we could make it back’

On June 1, 1967, the Israeli submarine Tanin (“Crocodile”) was sent for a sabotage mission in the Egyptian Navy’s Alexandria harbor, under the command of Maj. Abraham Dror.

 Abraham Dror (Photo: Naval Museum)Abraham Dror (Photo: Naval Museum)

Dror commanded 60 crew members, which included 8 Shayetet 13 commandos and a Navy physician. Dror recounted the long days of waiting for the order to attack spent under the sea in the cramped submarine. “Whenever we could we would float up to sea level to recharge our electric batteries and to let the commandos practice swimming and stretch their muscles,” he recounted. On June 5, after a long and frustrating wait, the order was given to attack Alexandria harbor. Fifty years after that fateful moment, the submarine’s combat unit commander Capt. Eitan Lipschitz recounts the “suicide mission.”

 Eitan Lipschitz (L) and Abraham Dror (Photo: Assaf Kamar)Eitan Lipschitz (L) and Abraham Dror (Photo: Assaf Kamar)

“By our calculations, we needed at least nine hours of night to get out of the submarine, covertly enter the harbor and return safely, but it was June, which has the shortest nights all year—we had no chance to make it back in time. “I decided to keep that information to myself, as to not harm the sailors’ morale. I took the waterproof first-aid kit, took out the morphine and put in some cigarettes and matches, so at least I’d have something to smoke before they take me captive and electrocute my balls.”

(Photo: Naval Museum)(Photo: Naval Museum)

 

(Photo: Naval Museum)(Photo: Naval Museum)

Read More: Y Net

Extracting water from air, Israeli firm looks to quench global thirst

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Water-Gen Ltd., an Israeli company whose technology captures humidity in order to make drinking water out of air, is not likely to experience the cash-flow squeeze that afflicts many fast-growing companies.

\That’s because Russian-Israeli entrepreneur and billionaire Michael Mirilashvili, who is also the vice president of the World Jewish Congress, bought control of the company last summer, and because it has high-profile advocates. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned it in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” about Israel’s high-tech prowess. At the AIPAC conference last month, Harvard Law professor and Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz took the stage to showcase its technology. In September, the company presented its solution at the United Nations.

Not bad for a firm that employs some 30 people, mainly engineers, in the central Israeli city of Rishon Lezion. It was set up in 2010 by entrepreneur Arye Kohavi, a former combat reconnaissance company commander in the Israeli Army who previously set up a firm that developed e-learning software.

Read More: Times of Israel