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Family in Brazil under a malaria net. Photo: J R Ripper/Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images

A malaria vaccine developed by Oxford University was found to have "high-level efficacy" in phase II trials, according to a pre-print study released on Friday.

Why it matters: Malaria kills over 400,000 people a year, more than half of them children under the age of 5. Deaths have fallen in half over the past 20 years thanks to investment in prevention and drugs, but a truly effective malaria vaccine would represent one of the greatest victories in the history of public health.

Details: The vaccine was found to be 77% effective, becoming the first to surpass the World Health Organization's goal of having a vaccine with at least 75% efficacy by 2030, Oxford University said in a statement.

  • "[N]o serious adverse events related to the vaccine" were noted, according to Oxford.
  • The trial included 450 participants between the ages of 5 months and 17 months, and lasted over 12 months.
  • The participants were split into three groups: Those who received a higher dose were found to be 77% less likely to develop malaria, while those with a lower dose recorded 71% efficacy. The rest of the participants received a rabies vaccine as the control group.

What's next: "Larger trials in nearly 5,000 children between the ages of five months and three years will now be carried out across four African countries, to confirm the findings," BBC writes.

Worth noting: This study is not yet peer-reviewed. Oxford's Jenner Institute is the same that successfully developed the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Apr 23, 2021 - Health

The bad news about the J&J pause

Expand chart
Data: Harris Poll; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Publicity surrounding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine's possible link to blood clots has had a negative effect on overall public opinion on vaccines, according to new Harris polling.

By the numbers: 54% of respondents said they wouldn't be willing to take the J&J vaccine in the future, even if its use is given the go-ahead by federal regulators.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Apr 23, 2021 - Health

The next generation of coronavirus vaccines won't come as quickly

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A flood of cash from Operation Warp Speed helped coax a slew of biotech companies into the race for a coronavirus vaccine, but the incentives to keep working on new competitors won't be nearly as strong.

Why it matters: That initial flood of cash worked — it delivered multiple, highly effective vaccines in record time. In other disease areas, though, second- and third-generation vaccines usually become the dominant products. And the first COVID-19 vaccines aren't necessarily a great fit for the whole world.

CDC says fully vaccinated people don't have to wear masks indoors

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Erin Clark-Pool/Getty Images

The CDC announced in new guidance Thursday that anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, regardless of crowd size.

What they're saying: "If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will say at a White House press briefing.