Study finds high efficacy level for malaria vaccine

According to a recent study, an experimental malaria vaccine tested on children in Burkina Faso has shown a high level of efficacy in protecting against the disease.
The study involved 45 children aged 12 to 24 months and randomized them into three groups receiving doses of either 15 or 30 micrograms of the experimental malaria vaccine or the control vaccine against hepatitis B, Vanguard reports. The study was initially planned to study the immune response and safety of the vaccine, known as MSP3.
“However, as malaria attacks were documented as part of the safety follow-up, the investigators decided to explore the protective effect of the vaccine,” the report, which appeared in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine, said, according to Vanguard. “Results indicate a high level of efficacy.”
The report found that children who received the new vaccine at either dose had incidence rates three to four times lower than children who did not. While the researchers found the results encouraging, they acknowledged that larger efficacy trials will be necessary to confirm the results. The study was led by scientists from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the National Center for Research and Training on Malaria in Burkina Faso and the Paris-based Pasteur Institute.
“Despite the limitations of the design and small sample size, these results strongly suggest a significant protective effect over the follow-up period,” the study said, according to Vanguard. "In addition to demonstrating safety, the vaccine induced the desired type of immune responses in all vaccinated children: those associated with natural protection observed in adults. This provides hope that the above approach may provide an artificial way to shortcut the 10 to 20 years of malaria exposure needed to acquire that highly desirable immune state seen in adults."