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Malaria vaccine yields protection

First large-scale test of immunization cuts risk of disease in children receiving it

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5:10pm, October 19, 2011

The first vaccine against malaria to undergo wide-scale testing shows that youngsters who got it were about half as likely to come down with the disease over a 14-month follow-up period as were those who didn't receive the vaccine.

An international group of scientists report the findings online October 18 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers unveiled data on 6,000 African children, ages 5 months to 17 months, who were randomly assigned to get either a three-dose malaria vaccine or a control vaccine — in this case, for rabies.

“It’s been a long time coming, and indeed we are still not there yet, but it is becoming increasingly clear that we really do have the first effective vaccine against a parasitic disease in humans," says Nicholas White, a tropical medicine physician at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, who was not part of this study. “It is a great achievement and an important advance, but [the re

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