GlaxoSmithKline's malaria vaccine Mosquirix shows promise in mid-stage trial

Trial results published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases demonstrated that GlaxoSmithKline's malaria vaccine Mosquirix reduced the risk of contracting the disease by 46 percent over 15 months in children. Researchers who conducted the Phase II study suggested that experimental vaccine had "promise as a potential public health intervention against childhood malaria in malaria endemic countries."

In the study, 894 children aged five months to 17 months from Kenya and Tanzania were randomised to receive either Mosquirix with an adjuvant or a rabies vaccine. An initial analysis published in December 2008 showed that the vaccine reduced the number of children infected with malaria by 53 percent after 8 months. The new analysis found “no evidence of waning efficacy” after 15 months of follow-up, the researchers noted, with only 11.4 percent of those given GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine developing clinical malaria, compared to 19.7 percent in the other group.

"We’ve never had a malaria vaccine get this far in its development and continue to show such promise," commented Robert Newman, director of the World Health Organization’s Global Malaria Programme. "It’s promising and encouraging," he said, adding that the WHO will wait for results after 30 months, due in 2014, before issuing a policy recommendation for the vaccine.

GlaxoSmithKline is currently conducting late-stage trials of Mosquirix, which CEO Andrew Witty indicated last October would generate results by late 2011 or early 2012. Company spokesman Stephen Rea said that if the data are positive, the drugmaker would seek approval of the vaccine in Europe. Witty also indicated that if approved, the cost of the vaccine would be "the lowest practical cost sustainable over time…with only a very small return, around 5 percent," which would be reinvested in developing new vaccines for other neglected tropical diseases.

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