Clinical Trial Info

Seasonal Malaria Vaccination (RTS,S/AS01) and Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SP/AQ) (RTSS-SMC)

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Last Reviewed
March 25, 2022

A double-blind, individual randomised Phase 3 trial will be undertaken in 5,920 children under the age of five years living in areas of Burkina Faso or Mali where the transmission of malaria is intense and highly seasonal to determine whether the malaria vaccine RTS,S/AS01 is

  • as effective as SMC with SP + AQ in preventing clinical malaria 
  • provides additional, useful protection when given together with SMC.

The primary trial end-point will be the incidence of clinical episodes of malaria detected by passive case detection.

Additionally, after each transmission season, anthropometric measurements were collected from all study children at a cross-sectional survey and used to derive nutritional status indicators, including the binary variables wasted and stunted (weight-for-height and height-for-age z-scores below − 2, respectively).

This observational study concluded: "Despite a high burden of malnutrition and malaria in the study populations, and a major reduction in the incidence of malaria in children receiving both interventions, this had only a modest impact on nutritional status. Therefore, other interventions are needed to reduce the high burden of malnutrition in these areas."


The New England Journal of Medicine published on September 9, 2021 results for this clinical trial.

6861 children 5 to 17 months of age were randomly assigned to receive sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine (2287 children [chemoprevention-alone group]), RTS,S/AS01E (2288 children [vaccine-alone group]), or chemoprevention and RTS,S/AS01E (2286 children [combination group]). Of these, 1965, 1988, and 1967 children in the three groups, respectively, received the first dose of the assigned intervention and were followed for 3 years. Febrile seizures developed in 5 children the day after receipt of the vaccine, but the children recovered and had no sequelae.

There were 305 events of uncomplicated clinical malaria per 1000 person-years at risk in the chemoprevention-alone group, 278 events per 1000 person-years in the vaccine-alone group, and 113 events per 1000 person-years in the combination group. The hazard ratio for the protective efficacy of RTS,S/AS01E as compared with chemoprevention was 0.92 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84 to 1.01), which excluded the prespecified noninferiority margin of 1.20. The protective efficacy of the combination as compared with chemoprevention alone was 62.8% (95% CI, 58.4 to 66.8) against clinical malaria, 70.5% (95% CI, 41.9 to 85.0) against hospital admission with severe malaria according to the World Health Organization definition, and 72.9% (95% CI, 2.9 to 92.4) against death from malaria.

The protective efficacy of the combination as compared with the vaccine alone against these outcomes was 59.6% (95% CI, 54.7 to 64.0), 70.6% (95% CI, 42.3 to 85.0), and 75.3% (95% CI, 12.5 to 93.0), respectively.


Administration of RTS,S/AS01E was noninferior to chemoprevention in preventing uncomplicated malaria. The combination of these interventions resulted in a substantially lower incidence of uncomplicated malaria, severe malaria, and death from malaria than either intervention alone.