Hope for a cure to malaria is, at long-last, in large supply. U.S. researchers reported a breakthrough Thursday in the search for a vaccine for malaria, the mosquito-borne disease that sickens millions worldwide.
More than three dozen volunteers received multiple, intravenous doses of a vaccine produced with a weakened form of the disease, scientists from the National Institutes of Health, the Navy, Army and other organizations .
Sanaria, a company in Rockville, Maryland, has developed a malaria vaccine that has become the first in providing 100% protection against the deadly disease. The vaccine, which is called PfSPZ because its makeup is comprised of sporozoites (SPZ,) a stage of malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum (Pf,) uses a weakened form of the malaria organism to instigate a response from the immune system.
Though the results were promising, more extensive field testing will be required, the researchers wrote. Nevertheless, the it marks the first time any vaccine trial has shown 100% success in protecting subjects from the mosquito-borne tropical disease, which sickens more than 200 million a year and killed about 660,000 in 2010.
Dr. William Schaffner, head of the preventive medicine department at Vanderbilt Universities medical school, called the results "a scientific advance" -- but cautioned that it is "not ready yet for prime time."
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