What’s in the News: Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase IIB Trial

Researchers with the University of Oxford recently reported promising findings from a trial of a candidate vaccine against malaria. The randomized, controlled, double-blind phase IIb trial included 450 children aged 5 to 17 months old in Burkina Faso in 2019. Split into three groups, the first two groups of participants received the R21/Matrix-M vaccine (with either a low or high dose of the Matrix-M adjuvant), and a third group received rabies vaccine as the control group. Efficacy was 77% in the high-dose adjuvant group and 71% in the low-dose adjuvant group over 12 months of follow-up, with no serious adverse events related to the vaccine. The vaccine is the first to reach the World Health Organization’s goal of a vaccine for malaria with at least 75% efficacy. The trial results were published as a preprint on April 20 and are in press at the Lancet, as recruitment for a phase III trial is underway, according to a University of Oxford news release. Malaria is estimated to cause more than 400,000 deaths globally each year, with the majority of these deaths in children.

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