Malaria vaccine candidate almost halved the number of malaria cases in young children in a large clinical trial
Results of a stage three trial after 18 months of follow up show that RTS,S almost halved the number of malaria cases in young children (aged 5-17 months at first vaccination) and reduced by around a quarter the malaria cases in infants (aged 6-12 weeks at first vaccination). Eleven African research centres in seven African countries are conducting this trial, together with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), with grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI). According to an MVI press release, data on the impact of a fourth dose, which will be 32 months after the initial doses, will be avaialble in 2014.
"The possibility of finally having an effective malaria vaccine is on the horizon", said Claudia Vondrasek, Project Director of Voices, who attended the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Pan African Conference in Durban, South Africa."After decades of research, these results are heartening because malaria is still one of the top three killer diseases, accounting for around 660 000 deaths a year. While LLINs, IRS and antimalarial drugs are important ways to control malaria--and gains in lives saved over the past decade are tremendous--vaccines can certainly become an additional tool to fight the disease. In the meantime, it’s critically important to ensure adequate funding for proven control and elimination efforts already underway."
MIM conference is the largest gathering of the malaria community and therefore provides the ideal opportunity to showcase novel findings, innovations and ground breaking research. Since the first MIM conference in Senegal 1997, the global face of malaria has changed considerably, with malaria elimination now a viable option in many African countries. To highlight this paradigm shift, the conference is appropriately themed: “Moving towards malaria elimination: Investing in research and control” and has both plenary sessions and symposia dedicated to this topic.