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  • Early success raises hopes for malaria vaccine

Image credit: Flickr/US Army Africa

Speed read

  • New malaria vaccines shows 100 per cent protection

  • Further tests are planned in Africa, with hopes for licensing in four years

  • Yet, the phase I trial was small and logistical difficulties remain

A malaria vaccine has become the first to provide 100 per cent protection against the disease, confounding critics and surpassing any other experimental malaria vaccine tested, Nature News reports today.

The vaccine, developed and tested in the United States, will now be tested further in clinical trials in Africa, starting at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania. If those are successful, the vaccine may be licensed as early as four years from now.

The results, published today in Science, demonstrate for the first time the concept that a malaria vaccine can provide a high level of protection, raising cautious optimism amongst researchers.

So far the new vaccine has only been tested in the phase I safety trial, in a small study on 40 volunteers. Also, the vaccine was given intravenously, making it difficult to administer in mass vaccination campaigns or to give to children.

There is currently no effective vaccine for malaria, a disease that kills around 660,000 people a year, mostly children.

Link to full story in Nature News

Link to full study in Science

References

Science doi: 10.1126/science.1241800