We are finally at the brick of getting a 100 percent effective malaria vaccine, since a new vaccine has just performed near that on the clinical trials. The vaccine acts on the principle of injecting malaria parasites into the patients, along with the necessary medication to combat them.
In the trials, the vaccine was applied to 67 healthy humans, and the nine top performers, became almost 100 percent protected against the disease for close to 10 weeks.
Sure, this is only the phase two of the clinical trials, which had the objective of studying how well the vaccine performs in a small group of healty subjects, and at the same time, test the eventual side effects, and this is not the first vaccine to perform great on the clinical trials.
Just last year, a vaccine named Mosquirix, has become the first licensed malaria vaccine, and it was used on a pilot program by the World Health Organization, to deliver the vaccine in three sub-Saharan African countries by 2018. So far, the Mosquirix vaccine, has only been 50 percent effective in children, but they expect that with a little tweaking of the doses, the efficacy will go up.
This new vaccine, called Sanaria PfSPZ-CVac, has cleared the phase two of clinical trials, so it’s not as far ahead in the development process as Mosquirix is, but at least so far is showing lots of potential.
The important thing is that either one of them, will be a huge achievement on the protection against the disease, since Malaria kills more than 400 000 people each year, mostly in the African Continent, and almost three quarters of the victims are children under the age of five. According to the World Health Organization, in 2015 year alone, around 214 million persons were infected.
The ability to vaccinate at a low price vulnerable populations, can save millions of lives, but until now scientists have found it challenging since the disease is transmitted by air through mosquito-borne parasites.
Unlike its predecessors, which contained only a few molecules of the parasite, this new vaccine uses the whole malaria parasite, and a medication called chloroquine, which is commonly used to kill the parasites.
The trial’s phase three, will be taking part at the African nation of Gabon, and will take a few years.
One thing is certain, finally we are getting close to a definitive preventive measure to this infamous disease.