A new study has demonstrated how a first-ever controlled malaria infection clinical trial in Africa has paved a way for the development of anti-malarial drugs and vaccines.
Salim Abdullah, PhD, principal investigator of the study said that they were extremely excited by the good results of this malaria challenge test, which opens up unprecedented opportunity for evaluation of new malaria drugs and vaccines in Africa.
Lead author, Stephen L. Hoffman, said that this innovation was a game-changer for malaria research and development in Africa and this was about making available within Africa the same research tools to study malaria that they had in the USA and Europe.
He added that the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) has now established that they could be equal partners with any clinical trial center anywhere in the world to do these first-in-humans, Phase 1 types of trials.
Michael Good, a malaria vaccine researcher at Griffith University in Australia, stated that by challenging an individual in early-stage trials with a defined number of parasites of a specific laboratory strain in a controlled clinical environment, it was possible to derive more meaningful data and significantly reduce trial costs, thus facilitating product development.
Good also said that there might be work still to be done to further optimize this approach to inducing malaria infection in humans and the technological significance of those developments to date cannot be overstated.
This study is published online in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (AJTMH).