Giving young children a vaccine-drug combo during the time they are most vulnerable could cut malaria deaths and illness by 70%, the BBC reports.
The phase 3 malaria vaccine study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, tracked 6,000 children under 17 months in Burkina Faso and Mali.
Combining doses of the RTS,S malaria vaccine and seasonal malaria chemoprevention during periods of peak malaria transmission controlled infections much better than vaccines or drugs alone, according to researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé, and the University of Bamako.
Among the children who received vaccine doses and drugs, there were:
- 624 cases of malaria (vs. 1,661 in children who received SMC alone)
- 11 children treated in hospital with severe malaria (vs. 37 for drugs alone)
The study reaffirms the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, PATH notes in a news release. It also bolsters the case for the new approach in places with highly seasonal malaria, where SMC alone is the current standard preventive approach for children under 5.