Malaria vaccine human trial could pave way for a cure

Malaria vaccines developed by Irish and British scientists have been shown to produce a strong immune response in a human trial.

Malaria vaccine human trial could pave way for a cure

The clinical trial, carried out in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in Dublin, also showed the vaccines were well tolerated.

Two vaccines have been developed by RCSI researchers in collaboration with Oxford University. It is hoped that combining the vaccines with others in development may lead to a vaccine that could prevent malaria.

Almost 700,000 people die annually from malaria and there is no effective vaccine. It was the first time that the new vaccines were tested on humans and the first human clinical trial of any malaria vaccine to be carried out in Ireland.

The clinical trial involved 24 Irish volunteers who received the vaccines to assess safety and the immune responses.

The vaccines were found to have an excellent safety profile and produced the appropriate immune response — generating specific T cells that are primed to respond to malaria proteins.

It is hoped that combining the vaccines with others in development may lead to a vaccine that could prevent malaria. The next phase of clinical trials will be undertaken at Oxford University.

Head of the RCSI’s Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine and senior study author, Professor Sam McConkey said the trial results were an important step in the development of an effective vaccine for malaria.

The two new malaria vaccines — ChAd63 CS and MVA CS, use the gene for malaria circumsporzoit protein inserted into a weakened adenovirus.

The project is funded by the European Vaccine Initiative with the support of Irish Aid — the Government’s programme for overseas assistance.

Results of the clinical trial have been published in the current issue of the journal Plos One.

The European Vaccine Initiative is a leading European non-profit product development partnership,

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