Late Breaking News
First Malaria Vaccine Could Be Available in Four Years Cont.
Further Study Results Expected
Public health officials have been eager to see a malaria vaccine developed because of the serious toll taken by the disease, particularly among children. According to the WHO, approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. In 2009, malaria was present in 108 countries and territories.
Still, public health officials will have to wait to determine the potential vaccine’s ultimate future. The Phase III trial is ongoing, and the safety results in 6- to 12-week-old infants are expected by the end of 2012. Further data on the long-term efficacy of the vaccine for both groups of children are expected to be in by the end of 2014.
“While all those involved in the trials are excited by the latest results in the 5- to 17-month age group, the efficacy of the population in the expected target population of 6 to 14 weeks is not yet known,” the WHO wrote in a written release on its website.
According to the WHO, if all required public health information from the trial is satisfactory, a WHO recommendation for use of the vaccine candidate could be possible as early as 2015.
In an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, Nicolas White, MD, a malaria expert at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, wrote that the trial result “is a great achievement and an important advance, but [the investigators] know that this partially protective vaccine is not the sole solution to the control and elimination of malaria.”
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