U.S. military tests malaria vaccine

The U.S. Naval Medical Research Center recently signed a contract with GenVec, Inc., a Gaithersburg, Maryland-based biopharmaceutical company, to provide clinical supplies of its malaria vaccine.

GenVec's vaccine is a proprietary adenovector delivery system that is able to generate strong immune responses while avoiding vector-specific immunity. The contract for supply of the vaccine for testing is worth approximately $3.5 million, UPI reports.

"We appreciate the U.S. military's continued commitment to the worldwide problem of malaria and its support of malaria vaccine development," Joseph Bruder, the director of research for GenVec and the head of its malaria program, said, according to UPI. "Work under this agreement will build upon the encouraging clinical results previously demonstrated."

The NMRD and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research previously conducted a Phase 1 clinical trial of the malaria vaccine candidate. The study used GenVec adenovector technology and DNA plasmid priming, UPI reports.

"[The trial determined the vaccine] was safe and well-tolerated with minimal local or systemic reactions and no serious vaccine-related adverse reactions," GenVec said, according to UPI.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that usually infects a certain type of mosquito. Malaria symptoms include high fevers, shaking chills and flu-like illness. Most cases in the United States are the result of immigrants and travelers returning from countries where malaria transmission is prevalent, such as South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.