GSK’s Malaria Vaccine Represents Breakthrough Despite Being Partially Effective, Researchers Say

News outlets report on a new study on an experimental malaria vaccine published in The Lancet.

Associated Press: Malaria vaccine is a letdown but could still reduce cases
“The world’s leading malaria vaccine candidate appears to be a disappointment, with final study results showing it doesn’t work very well and that initial protection fades over time…” (Cheng, 4/23).

Deutsche Welle: Doubts plague new malaria vaccine
“…Despite the poor results — it protects about one-third of children vaccinated — developers are moving ahead to get it approved because it could still help protect some children from getting the mosquito-spread disease…” (4/24).

The Guardian: Malaria vaccine a breakthrough despite being partially effective, say scientists
“…The vaccine has been in development for 20 years and has cost more than $500m (£330m) so far. Hopes that it would save the lives of most of the 500,000 children under five who die from malaria each year have long been scaled back, but experts say that even a partially effective vaccine is an important breakthrough…” (Boseley, 4/23).

HealthDay/U.S. News: Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise in Shielding African Children
“…There is currently no vaccine for malaria, and the new vaccine, called RTS,S/AS01, was developed for use in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria kills about 1,300 children every day. The phase 3 trial of the vaccine included more than 15,400 newborns (ages six to 12 weeks at first vaccination) and children (five to 17 months at first vaccination) at 11 sites in seven sub-Saharan African countries…” (Preidt, 4/23).

Reuters: World’s first malaria vaccine moves closer to use in Africa
“…[T]he final stage follow-up data published in The Lancet journal on Friday showed vaccinated children continued to be protected four years on, albeit at a declining rate — an important factor given the prevalence of the disease — and rates of protection were stronger with a booster shot…” (Kelland, 4/23).

Wall Street Journal: Problems Found With Glaxo’s Malaria Vaccine
“…Glaxo has already submitted the vaccine to European regulators, based on earlier data, and hopes that the shot could launch as early as next year. The World Health Organization has already indicated that it will recommend the vaccine should it win regulatory approval…” (Roland, 4/24).