Success of new malaria vaccine

The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel has developed a vaccine that has proved effective and well-tolerated in tackling malaria in children.

In a 12-month period the vaccine was tested on 40 children and 10 adults in an area of Tanzania in which malaria is endemic. The vaccine consists of two synthetic peptide components (AMA-1 and CSP-1) that mirror the native structure of important antigens formed during the decisive phases of the life cycle of Plasmodium falciparum, the organism that causes tropical malaria. As the University of Basel reported in July 2011, the vaccine triggered strong antibody responses to the two antigens (AMA-1 and CSP-1) in the majority of subjects. It was also effective in preventing clinical malaria in children: in those subjects who had been treated with the new vaccine, cases of malaria occurred half as often as in those who had received a flu vaccine. Apart from RTS,S – another vaccine candidate that is currently being tested at a number of centres in Africa – the new vaccine is the only one so far to have proved so effective in protecting the population against malaria. The research results were published in the July edition of the US journal PLoS ONE.    

(University of Basel/ile)