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New malaria vaccine tests safe, effective

BALTIMORE, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. and West African researchers say a new vaccine designed to prevent malaria infections in young children has been found to be both safe and effective.

Scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Malaria Research and Training Center at the University of Bamako in Mali, West Africa, tested the vaccine on children in Mali and found it stimulated strong and long-lasting immune responses.

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The scientists said the antibody levels the vaccine produced in the children were as high or even higher than the antibody levels found in adults who have naturally developed protective immune responses to the parasite over lifelong exposure to malaria.

"These findings imply that we may have achieved our goal of using a vaccine to reproduce the natural protective immunity that normally takes years of intense exposure to malaria to develop," said Dr. Christopher Plowe, a professor at the University of Maryland and lead author of the study.

The study's results are reported in the online journal PLoS One.

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