Science

77% effectiveness for a vaccine against malaria, a first

Note of hope in the fight against malaria with a nice birthday present contemporary to the recent World Malaria Day (April 25) responsible for 400,000 deaths each year worldwide, two thirds of which are in children under five. Gift : a pre-publication of the journal The Lancet.

Promising phase 2 trials

A work which demonstrates an effectiveness never reached to date of 77% during trials carried out in Burkina Faso with 450 children. It all hinges on a vaccine candidate, R21 / Matrix-M, the first to reach – and even exceed – the 75% efficacy target set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Developed by the University of Oxford at the Jenner Institute (Great Britain) in collaboration with the American laboratory Novavax, this new vaccine surpasses that developed by GlaxoSmithKline (Mosquirix) partially effective, preventing 39% of malaria cases and 29% of severe malaria in young children in Africa.

This rather promising pre-publication of the phase 2 trial of R21 / Matrix M in any case already allows Prof. Halidou Tinto, parasitologist (Ouagadougou) and principal investigator of the trial, to continue his work with a trial of phase 3, according to the Jenner Institute press release.

“Go from 400,000 deaths to tens of thousands in five years”

With researchers from the Serum Institute of India Private Ltd and Nonavax, it will now be possible to quickly take the next step, hoping to demonstrate a drastic reduction in mortality. Besides, the recruitment of 4,800 children, aged 5 to 36 months, in four African countries has already started. Asked by The Guardian, Adrian Hill, co-author of the study and director of the Jenner Institute, moreover declared: “Our hope is to go from 400,000 deaths to a few tens of thousands in five years, which would be absolutely fantastic.”

Hoping that the continuation of the Matrix 21 trials will obviously confirm this optimism. For the record, the peak in mortality from this terrible parasitosis reached in 2004 (1.8 million deaths) has continued to decrease since then, but the race for the malaria vaccine has been going on for nearly a century.

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