Vaccine Shows Promise in Preventing Malaria

Ongoing trial in Africa suggests RTS,S/AS01 may protect children

TUESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- An anti-malaria vaccine undergoing rigorous testing in seven African countries appears to be effective against the mosquito-born illness, according to the preliminary results of a phase 3 trial published online Oct. 18 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Members of the RTS,S Clinical Trials Partnership analyzed vaccine efficacy against clinical malaria in 15,460 children, aged 6 to 12 weeks and 5 to 17 months, who were given either RTS,S/AS01 vaccine or a non-malaria comparator vaccine.

Fourteen months after the initial vaccination, the researchers found the incidence of clinical malaria to be 0.32 episodes per person-year in the treatment group and 0.55 episodes per person-year in the control group among the older children who had received all three doses of vaccine according to the vaccination protocol. This resulted in a vaccine efficacy of 50.4 percent. Vaccine efficacy against severe malaria in the per-protocol population was 47.3 percent.

"The RTS,S/AS01 vaccine provided protection against both clinical and severe malaria in African Children," the authors write.

The study was funded in part by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals; several authors disclosed financial relationships with GSK.

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