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Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise

It cut African infants' infection risk by 65%, researchers say

THURSDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Initial findings from tests of a malaria vaccine are encouraging, say researchers who tested the shot's safety and effectiveness in infants in Mozambique.

The 214 children received either three doses of the RTS,S/AS02D vaccine or a hepatitis vaccine (as a control) at ages 10 weeks, 14 weeks, and 18 weeks. They also received routine immunization vaccines at ages 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks.

The team found that the malaria vaccine was safe and reduced the risk of contracting new malaria infections by 65 percent. A previous study found that the vaccine reduced the risk of new malaria infections by 45 percent in children ages 1 to 4.

The study provides evidence of a strong association between vaccine-induced antibodies and a reduced risk of malaria infection, the researchers said.

"This finding needs to be corroborated further in other trials, but this observation might be important in the clinical development plan of this vaccine," wrote Dr. Pedro Alonso, of the Manhica Health Research Center, Mozambique, and the Hospital Clinic of the Universitat de Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues.

The findings were published online Wednesday in The Lancet medical journal and will be published in an upcoming print issue.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about malaria.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Oct. 17, 2007

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