A breakthrough in the search for a malaria vaccine was announced today.
A malaria vaccine has become the first to provide 100% protection against the disease, confounding critics and far surpassing any other experimental malaria vaccine tested. It will now be tested further in clinical trials in Africa. "The results are important because they demonstrate for the first time the concept that a malaria vaccine can provide a high level of protection," says Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, adding that the findings are cause for "cautious optimism". No effective malaria vaccine is available at present. The World Health Organization has set a target to develop a malaria vaccine with 80% efficacy by 2025, but until now, says Fauci, "we have not even gotten anywhere near that level of efficacy."An estimated one million people die of malaria every year.