Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New malaria vaccine in final phase of testing

A meeting to discuss malaria prevention begins in Washington today. Scientists attending the meeting are expected to announce good news about a new malaria vaccine. Experts believe that a new malaria vaccine called RTS,S will be in use within five years to treat a deadly form of the disease.

From this AFP article that we found at Google News, we read more about the final phase of testing for the vaccine.

One of the stars at the meeting will be the RTS,S malaria vaccine, which has been developed by GlaxoSmithKline and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, with funding from the philanthropic foundation set up by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda.

RTS,S is in Phase III trials, which test a vaccine's safety and efficacy on a large scale, in seven African countries -- Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. Enrollment is targeted to reach 16,000 children and infants.

Results of Phase II trials, which were announced in 2008, showed RTS,S was 53 percent effective against clinical falciparum malaria in young children, the most vulnerable to the mosquito-borne illness.

In infants, the vaccine was up to 65 percent effective.

If successful, the Phase III testing and licensing of the vaccine would make it a "first generation malaria vaccine that is at least 50 percent effective against severe disease and death, and that lasts more than one year," the Malaria Vaccine Initiative has said.

"This vaccine has been 25 years in the making and it's taken people from all walks of life to pull it together to make it happen," said Oosterbaan.

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