Oxford Malaria vaccine is 77% effective in treating COVID-19 – Study

NEWS DIGEST – A recent study shows that a malaria vaccine from the Oxford Institute is 77 percent effective for the treatment of COVID-19.

Malaria kills more than 400,000 people a year, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa.

But the study conducted by Oxford University and released on Friday indicated that clinical trials had been carried out on 450 children between the ages of five to 17 months.

This is coming at a time that the vaccine is entering larger-scale human trials to test for rarer side effects.

Authorities believe that if the safety of the vaccine is guaranteed, it will be a game-changer in tackling the disease which has continued to kill many across the globe.

“These are very exciting results showing unprecedented efficacy levels from a vaccine that has been well-tolerated in our trial programme,” Halidou Tinto, the trial’s principal investigator, said in a statement.

“We look forward to the upcoming Phase III trial to demonstrate large-scale safety and efficacy data for a vaccine that is greatly needed in this region.”

Although Malaria is preventable and curable, data from the World Health Organisation estimates there were 229 million cases worldwide in 2019 and 409,000 deaths.

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through a mosquito bite and it begins with symptoms such as fever, headaches and chills and, without treatment, can progress quickly to severe illness and often death.

According to the study author and Director of the Jenner Institute in Oxford, Adrian Hill, the results were thrilling.

Despite decades of research, there is only one other vaccine against malaria and it is about 36 percent effective.

Hill said it was imperative that regulators treated the vaccine with the same urgency as those against Covid-19. “Malaria is a public health emergency. More people died from malaria last year in Africa than COVID-19 by a factor of at least four,” he said.

“That’s a real technical challenge,” Prof Hill said, adding that “The vast majority of vaccines haven’t worked because it’s very difficult.”