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BioNTech starts clinical trials for malaria vaccine

BioNTech, a company founded by Turkish German immigrants that is famed for its COVID-19 vaccine, announced on Friday that it has started clinical trials for a malaria vaccine.

Phase 1 trial of the BNT165b1 vaccine will enroll around 60 healthy participants with no prior or current malaria infection at multiple sites across the US, the company said in a statement.

The participants will be tested at three different dose levels of the vaccine, it added.

Stressing that the aim is to develop an mRNA-based vaccine that could help prevent malaria and reduce related mortality, Ozlem Tureci, the company’s co-founder, said “The trial initiation is an important milestone in our efforts to help address diseases with high unmet medical need.”

According to the statement, the program of the malaria vaccine intends to develop a well-tolerated and highly effective mRNA vaccine with durable protective immunity to prevent blood-stage malaria infection and eventually supply it across the African continent.

“The containers for the first BioNTainer have finished construction in Europe and are being prepared for shipment to Kigali, Rwanda, where they are expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2023,” it added.

The company said the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there were over 247 million cases of malaria and 619,000 associated deaths in 2021, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

Source: Anadolu Agency