Malaria vaccine cuts risk by 46 percent after 15 months

A study funded by GlaxoSmithKline and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative in Maryland has found that Glaxo's experimental malaria vaccine Mosquirix can cut the risk of malaria by 46 percent up to 15 months after the shot.  

A December 2008 study found similar results, with malaria in infected children reduced by 53 percent eight months after administering the vaccine. The results are encouraging and may lead to one of the first effective malaria vaccine shots, Bloomberg reports.

"We've never had a malaria vaccine get this far in its development and continue to show such promise," Robert Newman, director of the World Health Organization's Global Malaria Program said during a telephone interview, according to Bloomberg. "It's promising and encouraging."

Malaria infected close to 225 million people and led to the deaths of approximately 781,000 people in 2009, with the majority of those deaths by children in sub-Saharan Africa. These numbers make malaria the third-most deadly infectious disease in the world behind only AIDS and tuberculosis.

The study was conducted on over 800 children between the age of five and 17 months in Tanzania and Kenya. Glaxo projects that it will have the results of final-stage trials by late 2011 or early 2012.

The WHO wishes to wait on effectiveness data of the vaccine for 30 months before it makes a decision on a policy recommendation for the vaccine in 2014.