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Discovery & Development Clinical Trials, Vaccines

Hope in the Fight Against Malaria

Are we getting closer to eradicating malaria? A team of US scientists led by Patrick E. Duffy at NIAID and Stephen L. Hoffman at Sanaria have conducted phase I trials of a malaria vaccine (PfSPZ) that offers a strong, durable protection for patients exposed to the disease (1). The vaccine is composed of sporozoites (the form of the malaria parasite transmitted by mosquito bites) and is combined with either pyrimethamine or chloroquine.

Of the two combinations, chloroquine appears to perform best. Among volunteers who received the highest PfSPZ dosage combined with pyrimethamine, 77.8 percent were protected from heterologous challenge, whereas 100 percent of those who received the higher PfSPZ dosage were protected.

A phase II trial is now underway in Mali, where malaria is endemic. At present no malaria vaccine is in widespread use, but the initial success of PfSPZ points to a promising future.

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  1. A Mwakingwe-Omari et al., Nature (2021).  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03684-z.

About the Author

Angus Stewart

Angus is Associate Editor of The Medicine Maker.

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