Results of the latest malaria vaccine trials will be published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, and from the looks of it, the news is good -- fantastic, in fact. "We are closer than every before to having a malaria vaccine for use by children in Africa, says
First, some background: The new trials use a vaccine candidate known as RTSS, the most clinically advanced malaria vaccine in development. The two tests took place in Kenya and Tanzania, and included 340 and 894 children, respectively. After vaccination, children were visited in their homes to follow up on their health and most importantly, their contraction (or not) of malaria.
Here are some highlights from the results:
The results today set the stage for more Phase 3 trials--the last needed before lisencing of the vaccine. Future trials will continue to test safety, efficacy, and the possibility of a "booster" shot lengthening the already lengthy 18-month protection observed. 16,000 children will be involved in 11 sites found in 7 countries.
As I wrote last month, a malaria vaccine would be a huge boost to the battle against the capricious and classically difficult-to-fight parasitic infection. The human race has never created a vaccine to fight a parasitic infection before. Here's hoping!
Photo: John-Michael Maas/Darby Communications
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