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Last week, Pfizer announced promising results from their late-stage clinical trial for an experimental vaccine candidate for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which has been causing serious concern in recent weeks. The vaccine was administered to pregnant individuals with the goal of protecting infants upon their birth. The trial found that the vaccine candidate was 82 percent effective against severe illness for infants in their first 90 days and 69 percent effective through their first six months. The Pfizer vaccine is one of several candidates that are expected to undergo review from the US Food and Drug Administration later this year.
As the Ebola outbreak in Uganda continues, three experimental vaccine candidates aimed at protecting against the Sudan strain of the virus (for which there are no approved vaccines) have been sent to Uganda to be administered to people and to help generate more data for clinical trials. The candidates include one vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by the Serum Institute, one developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and licensed to the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and one candidate from Merck. Doses of all three vaccines will be deployed to Uganda through a joint effort with the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the coming weeks and months.
A new study conducted in Mali showed that a single dose of monoclonal antibodies provided protection from malaria infection for up to six months. While monoclonal antibodies are notoriously expensive to produce and complex to administrate, the lab-made antibodies employed in the study could prove to be a key tool to protect children and pregnant individuals in the fight against malaria, at least in the short-to-medium term. This study follows another last year, which showed that intravenous administration of the antibody prevented infection in all nine participants.