The malaria vaccine RTS,S/AS01 developed for use in sub-Saharan Africa was found to be effective in children for up to 4 years, after final trials.
To be available in October this year, the vaccine could prevent malaria spread in highly tranmission areas, said lead author Prof. Brian Greenwood of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. “The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will assess the quality, safety, and efficacy of the vaccine based on these final data,” said Greenwood about the next phase of the vaccine development.
If the EMA gives its nod, then the World Health Organization may also give its recommendation for the use of RTS,S/AS01 from October. “If licensed, RTS,S/AS01 would be the first licensed human vaccine against a parasitic disease,” Greenwood said.
However, the vaccine is partially successful as it could prevent malaria for four years and is effective only among the children and young infants. Another booster dose is also required to prevent its efficacy.
For over 4 years, 1,363 malaria cases were prevented and 1,774 cases with booster dose and in the follow-up phase, 558 cases were averted for every 1,000 infants vaccinated and 983 kids were given booster dose, said Greenwood.
In 2013, malaria affected 190 million people and with this efficacy rate, the vaccine is still better, defends Greenwood. The RTS,S/AS01 vaccine completed its phase-3 randomised trail on 15,459 young infants aged six to 12 weeks during the first vaccination, and children aged five to 17 months from 11 locations across the Sub-Saharan African nations — Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and United Republic of Tanzania — with different levels of malaria transmission.
In 2014 phase-3 trials, the success rate was 46 percent in children and 27 percent in young infants. Since there is no licensed vaccine in the world, the researchers are hopeful that their vaccine will make it in big way in Africa where malaria is highly prevalent.
Their findings were published in the journal The Lancet.