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Collaboration to Develop Second-Generation Malaria Vaccine

Syringe (ZaldyImg/Flickr)The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) says it has an agreement with Dutch biopharmaceutical company Crucell N.V., a division of Johnson & Johnson, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop a second-generation vaccine against malaria. PATH is an international non-profit organization that helps communities worldwide break longstanding cycles of poor health.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), malaria killed nearly 1 million people in 2008, most of them young children in Africa. MVI encourages development of malaria vaccines by partnering with companies, universities, and governments to test potential malaria vaccines and invest in those with the most promise.

The new project will bring together two approaches to develop a new malaria vaccine. The first method is GSK’s RTS,S vaccine candidate, currently in the midst of a phase 3 clinical efficacy trial. If that trial goes well, WHO has indicated that it may recommend RTS,S as early as 2015, paving the way for countries to make a decision about implementation through their national immunization programs.

The second method involves Crucell’s Ad35.CS.01 vaccine that uses a weakened, recombinant adenovirus — a type of virus associated with the common cold and other mild respiratory infections — to deliver a malaria antigen to the immune system.

In this project, a single dose of Crucell’s weakened recombinant adenovirus Ad35.CS.01 vaccine will be administered, followed by two doses of GSK’s RTS,S malaria vaccine candidate in a phase 1 and 2 clinical trial expected to begin later this year. This would be the first test in humans of this combined approach.

Lab tests indicate the regimen of Crucell and GSK vaccines has shown a greater ability to provoke an immune response than either vaccine candidate by itself.

Photo: ZaldyImg/Flickr

Read more: Collaboration Researching Vaccine Against Malaria Parasite

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