Researchers ready new studies of promising malaria vaccine

Time magazine reports on GSK's plans to conduct large clinical trials of a new malaria vaccine in seven African countries in early 2009. Bankrolled in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers want to follow up on an earlier study that demonstrated a reduction of 53 percent in the rate of infection among infants. While nearly half the population was unaffected, it nevertheless marked a big improvement over the 35 percent protection rate provided by an earlier formulation.

In a second study, the vaccine cut the rate of infections by 55 percent over six months and also didn't interfere with other vaccinations used to protect children from diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and influenza B. It's not an ideal approach, but it does mark progress toward the goal of eliminating malaria, which kills a million people each year.

"We are," Dr. Christian Loucq, director of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, tells Time, "one step closer to the day when malaria will join diseases like smallpox and polio."

- read the article from Time

ALSO: Xconomy's Luke Timmerman tracked down Stefan Kappe, a scientist at the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, to discuss his quest to find a vaccine that is 90 percent effective against malaria. Kappe has identified an experimental vaccine that will begin clinical trials next year at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. And he fully expects to take about 10 years to complete the vaccine work. Report