Malawi malaria trial vaccine results not effective this year – University of North Carolina

University of North Carolina (UNC) project says the effectiveness of malaria clinical trial vaccine RTS, on infant between the ages of six to 12 months is lower than last year’s older category.

Speaking in Lilongwe on Friday when presenting the results from ongoing phase III clinical malaria trial vaccine, Site Principal Investigator, Professor Francis Martinson said the vaccine worked more effectively in infants between the ages of five to 17 months who have already started building the immune system.

“The effectiveness for this year’s results is 31 percent for clinical malaria and 37 percent for severe malaria for the younger category against 56 percent for clinical malaria and 47 percent for severe malaria in older category; and was administered along with standard childhood vaccine,” explained Martinson.

He said following the results the UNC project will continue and is expected to provide more data from the trial to determine factors that might influence the difference in effectiveness on the age groups against malaria.

UNC Malawi site Principal Investigator, Proffesor Francis Martnson, briefs the media on the findings of the Malaria Vaccine.-Photos by Felix Washon/Mana

Martinson added:”The study also indicated that the vaccine could be administered to young infants along with standard childhood vaccines like pneumonia, tetanus among others and that side effects were similar to what we would see with those vaccines.

“Fever was reported more frequently following vaccination with 30.6 percent than the control vaccine group with 21.1 percent. The results further revealed a bacterial cause of the meningitis in 7 of the 11 cases,” said Martinson.

He also said 86 percent of the trial participants were using insecticide-treated bed nets which demonstrate that the vaccine provide protection beyond existing malaria control intervention.

“The study indicated that the vaccine can help to protect young babies against malaria and observed that it provides protection in addition to the widespread use of bed nets by the trial participants, “explained Martinson.

Martinson further said when the vaccine works it will be available to all Malawians and will reduce cases of malaria in the country.

The project for the 11 site will cost $100 million which is MK30billion and 1,625 children are on the study.

UNC project started in 2009 in the country and has made significant progress in the recent years in the battle against malaria, but the disease still kills and 40 percent of all deaths of children under the age of two in Malawi results from malaria.

The media during the presentation of the findings

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