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Malaria Parasite Genotype Contained In Experimental Vaccine Could Impact Efficacy, Study Shows

News outlets report on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examining the relationship between an experimental malaria vaccine’s efficacy and the parasite genotypes it uses.

Nature: Parasite mismatch explains mediocre performance of leading malaria vaccine
“A malaria vaccine that has disappointed in clinical trials stumbled in part because it mimics a strain of parasite that is not commonly found in Africa, according to a study published on 21 October in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The finding appears in the week that an advisory committee for the World Health Organization (WHO) will say whether they recommend the malaria vaccine, known as RTS,S, for use, despite its modest performance…” (Maxmen, 10/21).

Reuters: Genetics help explain poor showing for GSK malaria vaccine
“…Now scientists have discovered that genetic variability in a protein found on the surface of malaria parasites may help explain the patchy response because, while the protein comes in different forms, GSK’s vaccine incorporates only one variant. The new study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, looked at blood from 5,000 youngsters and found that the vaccine gave less protection when toddlers were infected with parasites with a different protein variant to the vaccine. GSK said the research was interesting but early-stage…” (Hirschler, 10/21).

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