The malaria vaccine from the University of Oxford in Britain has been shown to be 77% effective in the first human trials. The vaccine could be a huge breakthrough in the fight against a disease that kills 400,000 every year, most of them children from sub-Saharan Africa.
The team of scientists behind the Oxford vaccine announced results of experiments on 450 children in Burkina Faso, West Africa, on Friday.
Subjects were followed up for 12 months after vaccination. The researchers said the vaccine was found to be safe and “effective at a high level.”
The next step involves testing 4,800 children between the ages of five months and three years from four African countries. They must confirm the effectiveness of the new vaccine.
The Serum Institute in India, which produces the malaria vaccine, has announced that it could deliver at least 200 million doses if the drug is approved.
The search for a malaria vaccine has been going on for years
To date, none of the many drugs tested met the minimum efficacy requirement of 75 percent set by the World Health Organization. The most successful vaccine was 55 percent effective.
Malaria is caused by a parasite. The infectious disease is transmitted by mosquito bites and is one of the deadliest diseases in human history in absolute numbers. According to the World Health Organization, there were about 229 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2019, of which 409,000 were fatal. It is one of the most common causes of death in African children.
Patients experience symptoms such as fever, headache, and chills. The disease is well treatable, but without medical intervention it can lead to death within a short period of time.