Malaria vaccine proving promising

Researchers are planning phase III trials.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted Dec. 29, 2008

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Researchers investigating an experimental malaria immunization are moving it into a large phase III trial in response to recent positive results.

"We are closer than ever before to having a malaria vaccine," said Dr. Christian Loucq, director of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. "The world urgently needs a safe and effective vaccine. Even a partially effective vaccine has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives each year."

Data from phase II projects investigating the RTS,S/AS01E and the RTS,S/AS02D malaria vaccines were published in the Dec. 11, 2008, New England Journal of Medicine and presented at last month's American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting in New Orleans.

These two-shot formulas contain the same antigen but have different adjuvants.

One study randomized 894 infants and toddlers in Kenya and Tanzania to receive either RTS,S/AS01E or rabies shots. The RTS,S/AS01E vaccine reduced the incidence of illness caused by the malaria parasite by 53% over eight months. Those receiving the investigation product also experienced fewer serious adverse events than did those who received the rabies vaccine.

A second study randomized 340 infants in Tanzania to receive either three doses of RTS,S/AS02D or the hepatitis B vaccination, in conjunction with the usual immunization schedule. The RTS,S/AS02D vaccine reduced the risk of being infected with the malaria parasite by slightly more than 65% over a six-month period. Also, it did not interfere with the effect of the other vaccines.

"These results are very exciting and give me renewed hope of having a malaria vaccine in the not-too-distant future," said Dr. Salim Abdulla, lead author on the second paper and head of the Bagamoyo Branch of the Ifakara Health Institute in Bagamoyo, Tanzania.

Multicenter phase III efficacy trials are expected to start early this year, pending approval by national regulatory agencies and ethics committees.

Back to top

External links

"Efficacy of RTS,S/AS01E Vaccine against Malaria in Children 5 to 17 Months of Age," abstract, New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 11, 2008 (link)

"Safety and Immunogenicity of RTS,S/AS02D Malaria Vaccine in Infants," abstract, New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 11, 2008 (link)

"A Hopeful Beginning for Malaria Vaccines," extract, New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 11, 2008 (link)

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn