Researchers at Oxford’s Jenner Institute announced that the early stages of their Malaria vaccine trials have demonstrated over 77% efficacy, making it the first vaccine to reach the WHO’s target of 75% efficacy.
Malaria is one of the leading causes of death in children, with more than 400,000 people killed each year, particularly children located in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The researchers have reported results from their Phase IIb clinical trial involving 450 children over a follow up period of 12 months. The children were enrolled in Burkina Faso, which is in the top ten countries most affected by malaria. A follow up trial is now underway, involving 4,800 children aged 5-36 months spread across four countries.
The children received three doses, each given a month apart from May 2019 to August 2019 -- the Summer months being a peak seasonal malaria transmission period. The clinical trial reported that the doses were well-tolerated with no recorded severe reactions.
Over time, antibody levels did decline, but were reportedly restored to the peak levels following primary vaccination when a fourth dose was given after 12 months.
Given the severity of the impacts malaria has on child mortality, and the overall expense of other preventative measures such as bed nets, insecticides, and antimalarial drugs, a vaccine with such a high efficacy rate could potentially be a game-changer.
It is planned that the vaccine will be manufactured on a much larger scale at a low cost by SII, which is also involved in the Oxford/Astra-Zeneca vaccine production.
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