Malaria vaccine finishes first trial

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Photo Credit: The Associated Press

The quest for the world’s first malaria vaccine appears to have taken a big step.

The first results from a late-stage test in seven African countries were released on Tuesday. They show the experimental shots cut the number of cases of malaria in half in young children. According to the World Health Organization, 225 million cases of malaria occurred in 2010.

The study, funded by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, used a randomized, controlled, double-blind trial.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine shows protection against the Plasmodium falciparum malaria, the deadliest form. The full report is available here.