Malaria vaccine tests positive in trials

A MALARIA vaccine made in Colombia by synthesising protein segments from the malaria parasite is proving promising in field trials, but its efficacy is still low.

Vaccine developer Manuel Patarroyo of the National University of Colombia in Bogota reports the vaccine offers adults 38.8 per cent protection against malaria, but the figure rises to 77 per cent for infants, who are the worst sufferers (New Scientist, Vol 137, No 1866). The Colombian vaccine is the first of its kind to demonstrate any level of success. The vaccine is cheap, costing about 25 cents for the three shots recommended for it to be effective.

Chiron, an American biotech company, is interested in large-scale production of the vaccine, but Patarroyo says he is considering transferring rights to his vaccine to WHO.