A new malaria vaccine has proven highly effective in trials, raising new hopes that one of the world’s deadliest diseases can be kept in check. According to the World Health Organization, malaria affects around 230 million people a year and kills around 400,000, most of whom are children under the age of five.
“These are very exciting results that show unprecedented levels of efficacy from a vaccine that has been well tolerated in our trial program,” said Halidou Tinto, director of the Research Institute of Health Sciences and lead investigator of the study. said in a statement released by Oxford University.
The new R21 / Matrix-M vaccine, developed by the Jenner Institute of the University of Oxford, has been shown to be up to 77% effective against the disease in Phase II studies. Scientists from The Jenner Institute also developed theproduced and distributed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
450 Burkina Faso children, aged between five months and 17 months, participated in the trials, which took place over 12 months. Participants were divided into three groups, with one group receiving a high dose of the vaccine, one receiving a low dose, and one group receiving a placebo dose of the rabies vaccine.
Researchers reported vaccine efficacy of 71% in the low-dose group and 77% in the high-dose group, making R21 / Matrix-M the first malaria vaccine to meet the World Health Organization’s goal. of a malaria vaccine that is at least 75 percent effective against the disease, the statement said.
Researchers, in collaboration with the Serum Institute of India and Maryland-based vaccine manufacturer Novavax, have begun recruiting for Phase III trials. They are looking to recruit 4,800 children between the ages of five and 36 months in four African countries, according to the statement.
“We look forward to the upcoming Phase III study to demonstrate large-scale safety and efficacy data for a vaccine that is much needed in this region,” Tinto said.
“Malaria is a leading cause of infant mortality in Africa … These new data show that licensing a very useful new malaria vaccine could very well happen in the next few years,” said Alkassoum Maiga, professor and minister of health. Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation in Burkina Faso. “It would be an extremely important new tool for controlling malaria and saving many lives.”