Tests Raise Hope for Malaria Vaccine

Scientists have reportedly moved a step closer to finally developing a malaria vaccine, raising hope for a breakthrough in the long search for a way to limit the impact of a disease that kills nearly 800,000 people every year.

In an announcement made at a forum in Seattle, developers said the proposed vaccine, based on clinical tests, was able to reduce by about 50 percent the malaria incidence in the 12 months since its administration. The experiment involved 6,000 children aged from 17 months to 5 years old. The preliminary tests were conducted in Africa, where around 90 percent of reported deaths from malaria occur.

“Scientists have been working to develop a malaria vaccine for 40 years, and these findings show that we are on track in the development of a vaccine for African children, those who need it most,” said Dr. Mary Hamel of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vaccine, known as RTS,S, works by boosting the immune system instead of attacking the mosquito-borne parasites.

Over the last 40 years, efforts to develop a malaria vaccine have failed to produce results as promising as what the current project has yielded, so far. If subsequent tests remain positive, the vaccine could be approved as early as 2015, CNN said in a report.