Source: Robert Besser

OXFORD, England: In a medical breakthrough which could save millions of lives, initial testing indicates that a vaccine to protect from malaria is 77 percent effective.

Developed by the University of Oxford, the vaccine, called R21/Matrix-M, was tested at two different doses on 450 children ages 5 to 17 months in Africa’s Burkina Faso.

Initial results found the high-dose inoculation offered 77 percent protection against the malaria-carrying mosquito, while the low-dose offered 71 percent protection. The protection continued for over 12 months and those inoculated showed no serious side effects.

If additional trials find it can be released to the public, the vaccine would be the first to meet the World Health Organization’s minimum threshold for malaria vaccine effectiveness of 75 percent.

“With the commitment by our commercial partner, the Serum Institute of India, to manufacture at least 200 million doses annually in the coming years, the vaccine has the potential to have a major public health impact,” said study co-author Adrian Hill, a professor at the University of Oxford in England.

There were 409,000 deaths caused by malaria in 2019, including more than 270,000 children, the WHO estimates.