New Malaria vaccine offers hope of cure

Scientists in the U.S. have announced a significant breakthrough in the fight against malaria after a human trial of a new vaccine was 100 percent effective against the disease for the first time in history.

Volunteers were given multiple doses of a vaccine, named PfSPZ, which is produced with a weakened form of the mosquito-borne disease.

In total, 57 people took part in the trial, with 40 receiving some dose of the vaccine. All were then bitten by infectious mosquitoes and scientists tested if they had developed the disease after a week.

Six people were given a full five doses of the vaccine and were unable to contract malaria when exposed to the disease.

Researchers are calling the vaccine a breakthrough but cautioned that PfSPZ needs to be tested on a greater number of people - and they aren't sure yet how long the vaccine will be effective for.

According to the World Health Organisation, about half of the world's population are at risk of malaria. In 2010, there were about 219 million malaria cases and an estimated 660,000 malaria deaths.

Increased prevention and control measures have led to a reduction in malaria mortality rates by more than 25 percent globally since 2000 and by 33 percent in Africa, where most deaths occur among children.

You can read the full study here.

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