Reproducing the poorly understood naturally acquired immunity to malaria that develops in the majority of individuals in malaria-endemic regions will reduce mortality in at-risk children. A paper by Roestenberg et al.  addresses this issue experimentally by describing the generation of sterilizing protective immunity against Plasmodium falciparum in malaria-naïve volunteers though controlled infection: a defined number of infectious mosquito bites with concurrent drug treatment. Measurable markers of protection were malaria-specific effector T cells simultaneously secreting IFNÎ³, IL-2 and TNFÎ±, and, to a lesser degree, antibodies. Such responses may be key objectives for efficacious vaccination or intermittent preventive drug regimens.