First clinical trials of malaria vaccine suggest it could help fight the disease and prevent millions of cases of the deadly disease every year.
The first malaria vaccine candidate (RTS,S/AS01) to reach phase 3 clinical testing is partially effective against clinical disease in young African children up to 4 years after vaccination, according to final trial data.
The results suggested that the vaccine could prevent a substantial number of cases of clinical malaria, especially in areas of high transmission.
The findings reveal that vaccine efficacy against clinical and severe malaria was better in children than in young infants, but waned over time in both groups. However, protection was prolonged by a booster dose, increasing the average number of cases prevented in both children and young infants.
The RTS,S/AS01 vaccine was developed for use in sub-Saharan Africa where malaria still kills around 1300 children every day. There is currently no licensed vaccine against malaria anywhere in the world.
According to Professor Brian Greenwood, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) would assess the quality, safety, and efficacy of the vaccine based on these final data and if the EMA gives a favorable opinion, WHO could recommend the use of RTS,S/AS01 as early as October 2015.
The study is published in The Lancet.