A new potential malaria vaccine may have been found after years of struggling to find a way to prevent the disease, which kills hundreds of thousands of people each year, mostly in Africa.
In the journal Science, researchers reported that early clinical trials of the PfSPZ vaccine kept volunteers who took five doses from getting malaria, and kept six of nine volunteers who took four doses from getting the disease, according to NBC News
. Of those who weren’t vaccinated, five out of six got the disease.
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Millions become ill from malaria, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, every year, and many of those who die from the curable disease are African children.
Although much more testing is needed, CNN Health said this is the first vaccine trial with a 100 percent success rate
. Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University said it may take eight to 10 years before the vaccine trials are completed and it can be distributed.
“This is not a vaccine that’s ready for travelers to the developing world anytime soon,” Schaffner told CNN. “However, from the point of view of science dealing with one of the big three infectious causes of death around the world, it’s a notable advance. And everybody will be holding their breath, watching to see whether this next trial works and how well it works.”
The vaccine PfSPZ is patented and produced by Sanaria Inc. On the company’s website, it states, “Sanaria’s vaccine development efforts are focused on African children, the population most urgently in need of protection. Annually, malaria is responsible for more than 100 million cases and 1 million deaths among African infants and children.”
Schaffner told CNN that more studies are needed with larger groups, field conditions, and a determination of how long the vaccine fights infection. The way that PfSPZ is given, through several intravenous doses, means good training and hygiene practices would be essential, the CNN report said.
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