French researchers from Inserm and the Université de Paris have developed a vaccine to protect pregnant women and unborn children from malaria. Initial clinical trial results indicate that it can provide effective protection that can last for several months.
In Asia, Africa and the Americas, malaria — an infectious disease transmitted by the Anopheles genus of mosquito — is endemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of 89 countries around the world are affected by the disease, which is responsible for 400,000 deaths a year.
Particularly dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn children, malaria is associated with risks of low birth weight and neonatal mortality, especially in sub-Saharan African countries. In order to better protect populations at risk, a team of researchers from Inserm and the Université de Paris is currently developing a vaccine in collaboration with the National Blood Transfusion Institute in Paris.
The first results of a clinical trial have now been published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. The project, which has been christened PRIMVAC, aims to evaluate the vaccine’s efficacy over a 15-month period by testing it on 68 non-pregnant women aged 18 to 35 years in Paris and then at the National Malaria Research and Training Centre in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
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