A team of researchers based at the University of Oxford says it has developed a malaria vaccine twice as effective as any other. The breakthrough was made by a team led by Dr Simon Draper of the university’s Jenner Institute.
Though the vaccine has so far been tested only on animals, Dr Draper highlighted its effectiveness, calling the results of trials “very exciting.”
Malaria is one of the world’s deadliest diseases, responsible for over two million deaths a year. Unlike vaccines used presently, the new vaccine aims to kill the malaria parasite in the blood. Existing treatments aim to prevent the parasite from reaching the liver.
Dr Draper said, “I’ve been in Oxford for almost ten years now, trying to develop a more effective vaccine. We knew it could be done. The next step is to secure funding to take this to a human trial.”
Currently, the RTS,S vaccine, developed by GlaxoSmithKline, is the world’s most effective vaccine, with a 30-50% success rate. However, Draper’s team hopes to double that, aiming for 80% efficacy in the next four years.