Malaria vaccine a letdown for infants
Scientists said they needed to analyze the data further to understand why the vaccine may be working differently in different regions. For example, babies born in areas with high levels of malaria might inherit some antibodies from their mothers which could interfere with any vaccination.
“Maybe we should be thinking of a first-generation vaccine that is targeted only for certain children,'' said Dr. Salim Abdulla of the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, one of the study investigators.
Results were presented at a conference in South Africa on Friday and released online by the New England Journal of Medicine. The study is scheduled to continue until 2014 and is being paid for by GlaxoSmithKline and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative.
“The results look bad now, but they will probably be worse later,'' said Adrian Hill of Oxford University, who is developing a competing malaria vaccine. He noted the study showed the Glaxo vaccine lost its potency after several months. Hill said the vaccine might be a hard sell, compared to other vaccines like those for meningitis and pneumococcal disease _ which are both effective and cheap.
“If it turns out to have a clear
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