The long struggle: vaccines versus malaria | Ars TechnicaPosted: July 23, 2012
RTS,S could conceivably increase malaria transmission. A vaccine that elicits immune responses might trigger increased numbers of gametocytes, a pattern seen with natural immune responses and antimalarial drugs. Remarkably, we aren’t currently certain whether carrying more gametocytes causes increased transmission. The question of how RTS,S affects gametocyte densities could be answered, but GlaxoSmithKline says it hasn’t yet looked at samples from the phase II trial, completed in 2010, or the ongoing phase III trials.
GSK spokesperson Sarah Alspach said that the company would explore gametocytemia, perhaps by the end of 2014. However, said Alspach, “Our goal remains licensure against malaria disease and that is what the trial is designed to do.” It is unclear if effects on transmission will be considered as part of the licensing and approval decision.