A new malaria vaccine has shown unprecedented 77 percent efficacy in early studies in young children and could be a major breakthrough against the disease. In this process, the vaccine became the first to achieve the goal of at least 75 percent efficacy set by the World Health Organization (WHO). The researchers conducted a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial of R21, a low-dose circus sporozoite protein vaccine, in 450 children aged between five and 17 months in Burkina Faso, a West African country. The vaccine has been found to be safe and highly effective over a period of one year.
The researchers divided the children into three groups and gave them either a low dose or a high dose of the new R21 vaccine or rabies vaccine. Three doses, four weeks apart, were given to each participant before the malaria season, and the fourth dose a year later. The team then monitors the children throughout the year and evaluates the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. The results were published in the medical journal Lancet in preprint form, which means that the paper is yet to be reviewed.
The vaccine showed an efficacy of 77 percent against malaria among the high-dose R21 group and 71 percent among low-dose children. Not only that, the efficacy remains 77% in the high-dose group.
“Participants vaccinated with R21 / MM showed high titers of malaria-specific anti-NANP antibodies 28 days after the third vaccination, which were almost doubled with the higher dose of adjuvant,” the statement said. Although titers, the concentration of specific antibodies, weakened, they were raised to peak-like levels after the primary series of vaccinations after a fourth dose given a year later, she added. The researchers said R21 appeared safe and highly immunogenic in African children and demonstrates a promising high-level efficiency.
To date, RTS, S / AS01 is considered the most effective malaria vaccine, with an efficacy rate of 55.8% among African children. According to the WHO, children under the age of five are most vulnerable to malaria. In fact, they make up nearly 67 percent of death cases due to malaria worldwide.
The WHO report on malaria for 2020 states that 4 million people have died from the disease. Approximately two-thirds of deaths are among children under the age of five. The 2019 report sheds light on the scale of the crisis and estimates that there are 2.29 crores affairs of malaria through The world.
The disease has had a huge impact on countries in the African region, which account for an extremely high share of the global malaria burden. In 2019, the region had 94 percent of global malaria cases and deaths.