Researchers continue progress toward an effective malaria vaccine

An early trial of a new vaccine created to prevent malaria infection recently showed promise when 12 out of 15 volunteers who received higher doses of the vaccine were protected from malaria three weeks after injection.

The vaccine, called the PfSPZ vaccine, is an investigational drug to prevent against malaria. In a previous study, researchers found that people who were bit more than 1,000 times from irradiated mosquitoes became somewhat immune to malaria. While a real study of this caliber was considered impractical, the research team did base their hypothesis off of this study and decided to use the parasite that causes malaria to make the vaccine, with the hopes of it also producing an immunity to malaria, NHS Choices reports.

The study took 57 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 45 that had never had malaria. Forty of the volunteers received the PfSPZ vaccine intravenously; the other 17 did not. Of those participants that did receive the vaccine, participants received different dosages, between two and six vaccinations.

All 57 participants were exposed to five mosquitoes positive for Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite. The participants who had been vaccinated were exposed to the mosquito three weeks after receiving their final immunization. The participants were monitored for seven days, tested for malaria and if found positive, received anti-malarial drugs to cure the infection, according to NHS Choices

There were no negative consequences associated with receiving the vaccine. More research must be conducted in order for the vaccine to be approved for market use, NHS Choices reports.