GSK malaria vax shows promising results

Mosquirix (RTS,S/AS01E), an experimental malaria vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline, provides African children with long-lasting protection and reduces the risk of infection by the parasite that causes severe malaria by 46 percent over 15 months, according to researchers.

Between March 2007 and October 2008, the researchers enrolled healthy children between the ages of 5-17 months in Kenya and Tanzania. The participants were randomized to receive three doses of either RTS,S/AS01E or human diploid-cell rabies vaccine. In the per-protocol analysis, 82 of 415 children in the RTS,S/AS01E group and 125 of 420 in the rabies vaccine group had first or only clinical malaria episode by 12 months. And at 15 months follow-up, 58 of 209 children in the RTS,S/AS01E group and 85 of 206 in the rabies vaccine group had first or only clinical malaria episode.

"RTS,S/AS01E confers sustained efficacy for at least 15 months and shows promise as a potential public health intervention against childhood malaria in malaria endemic countries," the researches conclude. Their findings were published  in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

"We've never had a malaria vaccine get this far in its development and continue to show such promise," Robert Newman, director of the World Health Organization's Global Malaria Programme, said in a telephone interview today, as quoted by Bloomberg. "It's promising and encouraging."

Late-stage trials of the GSK vaccine in 16,000 children in seven countries across Africa are ongoing, with immunizations due to end next month, according to Reuters. And if the data show the vaccine is effective, it could be licensed and rolled out as soon as 2015.

- read the study summary
- get more from Reuters
check out the Bloomberg report