Developing an effective malaria vaccine is a challenge because of the complexity of the organism; the inability of an infection to confer lasting immunity; the polymorphism of the organism; and because of prevalance of the infection in lesser developed areas. It’s not surprising that test vaccines are not fully effective.
The latest clinical trial of the world’s leading malaria vaccine candidate produced disappointing results on Friday. The infants it was given to had only about a third fewer infections than a control group.
But researchers said they wanted to press on, assuming they keep getting financial support, because the number of children who die of malaria is so great that even an inefficient vaccine can save thousands of lives.
Medicynical Note: Another problem with the vaccine is that three shots are required to obtain some immunity. It still remains to determined whether this “immunity” is durable.