A serum developed by Yale researchers reduces infection from malaria in mice, according to a new study. It works by attacking a protein in the saliva of the mosquitos infected with the malaria parasite rather than the parasite itself. If the novel approach proves effective in further studies, it could potentially be used to enhance existing malaria vaccines, the researchers said.

“It’s a new general strategy for a vaccine. Rather than targeting the microbe, we target a mosquito protein that influences the environment where the microbe is transmitted,” said Erol Fikrig, chief of the infectious diseases section at Yale School of Medicine and senior author of the study, published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.