- The Washington Times - Friday, August 9, 2013

Researchers in the United States say they made a huge breakthrough on Thursday for a vaccine that prevents malaria, the disease that’s carried by mosquitoes and affects millions of people around the world.

Three dozen volunteers who took part in a test vaccination and researchers with the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army and other government groups said the results have proven promising, CNN reported. They report 100 percent success in protecting the test subjects from the disease.

The results are definitely a “scientific advance,” said Dr. William Schaffner, who heads the preventive medicine department at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine, in CNN. But it’s “not ready yet for prime time.”

Still, this is the first time researchers could report a 100 percent protection rate for any malaria vaccine trial. The volunteers were in essence injected with a weakened form of the disease, CNN reported.

Malaria is a tropical disease that killed 660,000 in 2010, and reportedly sickens more than 200 million every year.

Mr. Schaffner said on CNN: “This is not a vaccine that’s ready for travelers to the developing world anytime soon. However, from the point of view of science dealing with on the big-three infectious causes of death around the world, it’s a notable advance. And everybody will be holding their breath, watching to see whether this next trial works and how well it works.”