According to a recent study conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), an investigational malaria vaccine protected a small number of healthy adults from infection with a malaria strain different from that contained in the vaccine.
Results of the Phase 1 clinical trial were published in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.
The vaccine, called PfSPZ, was developed by Sanaria, Inc. of Rockville, Maryland. It contained weakened Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) sporozoites, which do not cause infection but can trigger an immune response in the body. P. falciparum is the most-common cause of malaria deaths in Africa.
Through clinical testing at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center, the vaccine was found to be well-tolerated and protective for more than one year against the P. falciparum malaria strain matched to the PfSPZ vaccine.
“An effective malaria vaccine will need to protect people living in endemic areas against multiple strains of the mosquito-borne disease,” NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci said. “These new findings showing cross-protection with the PfSPZ vaccine suggest that it may be able to accomplish this goal.”
NIAID said ongoing research will determine whether protective efficacy can be improved by the vaccine’s dose and number of immunizations. The institute said it is currently conducting a Phase 2 efficacy trial testing three different dosages in a three-dose regimen in 5- to 12-month old infants in Western Kenya to assess the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.