Professor Justin Stebbing in his weekly science update comments on an article in Nature whereby an experimental malaria vaccine that contains live parasites protected all recipients in a small clinical trial.
Participants in the study were given a vaccine containing live plasmodium falciparum, along with drugs to kill any parasites that reached the liver or blood, where they can cause malaria symptoms.
Participants were then intentionally infected with malaria some three months later to test the vaccine’s efficacy.
The vaccination protected 87.5% of participants who were infected with a strain of the parasite used in the inoculation, and 77.8% of those were infected with a different strain.
It was concluded that this was a significant improvement on earlier efforts to use live parasites in a malaria vaccine.
Dr Paul Ettlinger
BM, DRCOG, FRCGP, FRIPH, DOccMed