Malaria vaccine trial announces success

Oct. 18, 2011 at 4:18 PM
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SEATTLE, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- First results from a malaria vaccine trial show the candidate drug reduces the risk of malaria by half in African children aged 5 to 17 months, researchers say.

The results were announced Tuesday at the Malaria Forum hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.

The results of a large-scale Phase III trial of the RTS,S drug, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrate it can provide young African children with significant protection against malaria with an acceptable safety and tolerability profile.

The trial was conducted at 11 trial sites in seven countries across sub-Saharan Africa, researchers said.

In the trial, three doses of RTS,S reduced the risk of children experiencing clinical malaria and severe malaria by 56 percent and 47 percent, respectively.

Clinical malaria with symptoms of high fevers and chills, can rapidly develop into severe malaria with serious effects on the blood, brain or kidneys that can prove fatal.

"The publication of the first results in children aged 5 to 17 months marks an important milestone in the development of RTS,S," Tsiri Agbenyega, a principal investigator of the trial and Chair of the Clinical Trials Partnership Committee, said.

"Sadly, many have resigned themselves to malaria being a fact of life in Africa," Agbenyega said.

"This need not be the case. Renewed interest in malaria by the international community, and scientific evidence such as that we are reporting today, should bring new hope that malaria can be controlled."

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