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Potential New Malaria Vaccine Tests Poorly

Posted: January 1st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Travel Vaccines Updates | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Potential New Malaria Vaccine Tests Poorly

A GlaxoSmithKline malaria vaccine posted surprisingly lackluster results in a Phase III trial, putting a damper on solid results from previous studies. The vaccine against the mosquito-borne illness proved only 30% effective when given to African children in a clinical trial.

Still, GSK plans to move forward with development of the vaccine. The trial included 6,537 babies aged 6 to 12 weeks; the vaccine offered “modest protection,” knocking down episodes of the disease 30% compared with the immunization with a control vaccine.

“The efficacy is lower than what we saw last year with the older 5-17 month age category, which surprised some of us scientists at the African trial sites,” Dr. Salim Abdulla, a principal investigator for the trial from the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, said in a release. “It makes us even more eager to gather and analyze more data from the trial to determine what factors might influence efficacy against malaria and to better understand the potential of RTS,S in our battle against this devastating disease.”

In 2010, malaria caused an estimated 655,000 deaths, mostly among African children, the World Health Organization says.

The Phase III trial, completed in conjunction with PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, was backed by $200 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates, whose organization commits billions of dollars to improving global health, said the study marked an important milestone.

“The efficacy came back lower than we had hoped, but developing a vaccine against a parasite is a very hard thing to do,” Gates said in a statement. “The trial is continuing and we look forward to getting more data to help determine whether and how to deploy this vaccine.”

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Breakthrough in the Search for a Malaria Vaccine

Posted: September 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Breakthrough in the Search for a Malaria Vaccine

Researchers atAustralia’s Burnet Institute discovered a prime target in the immune system’s battle against malaria, marking a turning point in the search for a vaccine.

Malaria distribution map. Most countries with ...

Malaria distribution map. Most countries with a high distribution of malaria also have a high distribution of parasitic worm infections. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Studies show people immune to the disease develop antibodies that home in on a protein known as PfEMP1, produced by Plasmodium falciparum, the organism behind most cases of malaria, according to Medical Xpress. The findings prove valuable in determining for which malaria proteins–known as variant surface antigens–a vaccine should aim. The study also showed that when the immune system takes action against other proteins produced by malaria, it does not effectively protect the body, further underscoring the need for a vaccine to seek out the appropriate target.

“The new findings support the idea that a vaccine could be developed that stimulates the immune system so that it specifically mounts a strong response (or attack) against the PfEMP1 protein that malaria produces,” James Beeson, senior author of the study, tells Medical Xpress.

More than 40% of the world’s population live in areas where there is a risk of contracting the mosquito-borne illness, which will make developing a vaccine both profitable to the manufacturer and beneficial to world health. Nearly 1 million individuals die of malaria each year, according to the NIH.