A massive malaria vaccine trial has been producing disappointing results. The study is being funded by GlaxoSmithKline, and has been called the most effective vaccine to date. The testing is in its final phases, with 6,500 participant African babies between 6 and 12 weeks old. The initial results have shown a 30% success rate.
That number may seem high, considering that malaria has been a difficult disease to develop a vaccine for. Malaria can be passed through a number of different parasites via mosquitoes. Every year, over 650,000 people are killed every year. The most at risk groups are young children and pregnant women.
The World Health Organization has said that a successful malaria vaccine should work for over 50% of the population, and should work for at least one year after injection. The current rates fall short of this goal.
Andrew Witty, the chief executive officer at GlaxoSmithKline, says that the results are frustrating. “We… would have liked to have seen higher efficay than we have of course. This is not a mission we should just walk away from. This remains the lead and still the most encouraging [malaria] candidate vaccine.”
GlaxoSmithKline has invested over $300,000,000 in the vaccine so far. The World Health Organization will wait until the trial is finished in 2014 before speculating on the results.