Successful human trials have given hope for the next stage in the development of a new malaria vaccine.

Researchers from Griffith University have completed a world-first trial of the use of a whole parasite blood-stage malaria vaccine in human volunteers, yielding safe immunogenic outcomes.

A single dose of the trial vaccine was administered to volunteers who were healthy, malarial-naïve males aged 18-60. It induced a broad parasite-specific cellular immune response that recognised different malaria parasites and did not adversely affect the volunteers.

“We are hopeful that the immune response induced by the vaccine would be able to kill the parasite if recipients were exposed to the parasite out in the field,” said researcher Dr Danielle Stanisic.

“The idea behind a whole parasite vaccine is that you've got thousands of proteins in the vaccine, some of which are going to be the same between different parasite strains, so hopefully these proteins would be the target of protective immune responses and the vaccine would provide broader coverage and protection when it's tested in the field.”

The next stage in the malaria vaccine trial process is to determine if the immune response from the vaccine can actually kill the parasites in humans as it has been shown to do in laboratory animals.

Once it has been established that it is safe and effective in human volunteers, the vaccine would be tested in a malaria-endemic area then across multiple sites in multiple countries.

The results of the trial have been published in BMC Medicine