SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

New malaria vaccine may be the most effective to date

A new investigational malaria vaccine developed by Sanaria, Inc., may be the most effective of all twenty vaccines currently undergoing clinical trials.

Sanaria's malaria vaccine candidate PfSPZ was developed by Stephen L. Hoffman and his research team and finished its Phase I clinical trials successfully. Although further research is required, it may be the most effective vaccine to date.

"The global burden of malaria is extraordinary and unacceptable," National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony S. Fauci said. "Scientists and health care providers have made significant gains in characterizing, treating and preventing malaria; however, a vaccine has remained an elusive goal. We are encouraged by this important step forward."

NIAID was involved in the clinical trial of the PfSPZ, which took 57 volunteers, vaccinated 40 and exposed all of them to mosquitoes carrying Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly malaria-causing bacteria. Only three of the 15 volunteers who received the highest dosage of the vaccine developed malaria.

Further research must be conducted to gauge the drug's true efficacy, but researchers are hopeful.

"They are clearly very early stage trials in small numbers of volunteers, but without question we are extremely encouraged by the results," Dr. Ashley Birkett of the Path Malaria Vaccine Initiative said.

The most advanced of the current candidates is an investigational malaria vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline called RTS,S/AS01. It is currently in a Phase 3 trial with 15,000 children in Africa.