Possible negative effects of new malaria vaccine for girls

The RTS,S vaccine is modestly effective at reducing clinical malaria in children and was recently approved by EMA. However, the subsequent release of the overall mortality data worryingly show that the vaccine is associated with increased overall mortality for girls.

In both of the two age groups that were tested, girls who received the RTS,S vaccine had almost 2-fold higher mortality than girls who had received the placebo vaccine. Overall, the RTS,S vaccine was associated with 91% (95 % confidence interval 30-179%) higher mortality in girls. In this guest editorial by Christine Benn, Peter Aaby and American and Australian colleagues, it is pointed out that this constitutes an important danger signal which should be rigorously studied.