A new study has been done concerning the results of the world’s first vaccine for malaria. The results in some regard have been disappointing. According to the study results, the malaria vaccine is completely out of a person’s system after seven years. The study was a phase-two clinical trial of the vaccine known as Mosquirix. It involved children in Kenya who experienced almost no effectiveness after seven years of age.
According to the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, decreased exposure to parasites among individuals who received the malaria vaccine could cause a slower development of immunity to blood-stage parasites. This results in a person experiencing a higher rate of clinical malaria episodes later in their life.
The study involved tracking over 400 children during a seven-year period. Approximately 50 percent of the children were given three doses of the vaccine. The other half did not receive the vaccine. During the first year of the study, the vaccinated children were more than 35 percent less likely to develop malaria when compared to the group that had not been vaccinated. Results early in the study showed the rates went down to less than 29 percent after four years. Children who were given a fourth dose of the vaccine reacted better. This result created discussions concerning the most effective regimen for the vaccine. The difference between the two groups of children decreased to less than five percent after seven years.
Researchers believe the vaccine being gone in the body after seven years is disappointing but does not mean the vaccine is a failure. These results may show that when a person is exposed to high levels of malaria parasites, it may have the effect of undoing some of the vaccine’s benefits. They believe the sample size was too small to come to any conclusions concerning the long-term benefits of the vaccine. Researchers intend to continue their research.
Malaria Vaccine Hopes
It has been estimated that over 350,000 individuals die from malaria annually. There is agreement among researchers around the world that a tremendous need exists for a vaccine that can treat and prevent malaria. The vaccine was created with the hope of stopping all malaria infections. It was created by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.
Malaria Vaccine Future
The results of this study have made researchers believe the application of the vaccine may need to be altered to handle the different levels of exposure to malaria individuals experience. Researchers believe the vaccine still has the potential to prevent deaths from the malaria parasite. It may be the basis for future generations of vaccines that will be able to handle the various stages of a malaria parasite’s lifecycle. Researchers want to understand how the drug can be made to prevent a person from developing malaria in the short and long term. The goal is to have a vaccine that decreases as well as prevents malaria deaths. Researchers believe this is now a real possibility for the future.
A person’s immunity to malaria builds up in areas where a lot of malaria is present. The biggest harm is caused to the children who live in these areas. It’s common in certain places for children to be infected with malaria many times prior to becoming school age. It has been determined by the World Health Organization (WHO) the vaccine in its current form provides only modest protection. The WHO has declined to recommend any use of the vaccine. The organization’s position on the issue is that more research needs to be done before it could be effective when administered in a real-world setting.
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