BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A vaccine against malaria brings hope to the researchers that desperately try to find ways to combat the deadly disease. The experimental vaccine has been proven to protect most participants in a research against malaria for up to a year. The result is the outcome of a small but conclusive study.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the experimental drug – called PfSPZ Vaccine, is the first of its kind to show durable protection against malaria. The study was the work of scientists at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The researchers determined how the dosage, route of administration and regimen influenced the durable protection in adults. The vaccine was produced in 2013 by Sanaria, a US pharmaceutical company. It contains thousands of live P. falciparum sporozoites.
The results come from Phase 1 of the trial. One hundred and one healthy adults aged 18-45 were enrolled in this phase. Fifty-nine of the volunteers received the malaria vaccine while 32 of them were not vaccinated. The study showed that the PfSPZ Vaccine provided protection for 55 percent of the participants for up to a year. To be noted that these adults had no prior malaria infection. In these individuals, the experimental vaccine conferred sterile protection, which means that they would be fully protected against the disease and could not transmit it to other people. The vaccine was well tolerated and showed no adverse reactions.
Because of the positive results of the study, scientists want to continue the research. They are now testing higher doses of the vaccine in larger trials to determine if a greater protection can be ensured long-term.
Each year, hundreds of millions of people get infected and more than half a million die of it. The most predisposed to die of malaria are children under the age of 5.
Symptoms include fever, vomiting, headache, and begin in a week or two after the disease was contracted. Without treatment in the early stages, malaria can progress to death. Currently, there is no malaria vaccine. The experimental vaccine developed by Sanaria is the first of its kind. Researchers are still testing the PfSPZ Vaccine in parts of Africa, as this vaccine against malaria brings hope of reducing the enormous number of humans infected every year.
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