Malaria 'viral' vaccine shows promising early results

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Baku, May 8, AZERTAC 

A trial of a malaria vaccine that targets the most dangerous variety of parasite that causes the disease has shown some positive early results.

The vaccine, developed at Oxford University, was 67% effective in a study of 121 men in Kenya, it found.

Encouraging results have now been recorded for two malaria vaccines, after 20 years of research.

Recent tests of a different vaccine in more advanced trials showed signs of it working in young children.

With about 1,300 children dying in sub-Saharan Africa from malaria every day, scientists want a vaccine to protect those most at risk.

According to the World Health Organization, there were 198 million cases of malaria in 2013 and about 584,000 deaths related to the disease.

But it has taken scientists more than two decades to make any real progress, because of the nature of the parasites transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

In total, there are four different parasites that cause malaria. It is not yet known whether the Oxford vaccine protects against all variants of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite or just one.

In the Oxford trial, published in Science Translational Medicine, scientists used two viruses - one a chimpanzee virus - to stimulate the body's immune system to produce cells that can fight against malaria.

This is a novel type of "viral vectored" vaccine that targets the parasite in the liver.

Following up participants after eight weeks, they found the vaccine had reduced the risk of malaria by two-thirds in those who had been given it.


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