A new malaria vaccine has proven 77 percent effective in trials on infants, British researchers said Friday, in what could prove to be a potential game-changer against the deadly mosquito-borne disease. In a clinical trial in Burkina Faso, the Matrix-M vaccine — developed by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute — was found to be 77 percent effective after 450 infants inoculated in 2019 were followed up for a year, the Oxford researchers said in a statement. No serious adverse events were reported. It is the first candidate vaccine for malaria to surpass a target set by the UN’s World Health Organization, for researchers to create a jab of 75 percent efficacy by 2030. A broader “Phase 3” trial involving 4,800 children will now be carried out in four African countries, in collaboration with the Serum Institute of India and the US pharmaceutical company Novavax. Professor Adrian Hill, head of the Jenner Institute — which developed the coronavirus vaccine now being distributed worldwide by Anglo-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca — said the test results marked “a great day” in the global fight against malaria. “We need to build on this, we need to keep all our ducks in a row, we need to avoid any safety signal, but I think the odds are now on our side, we can get this through,” he told the PA news agency. He pointed out that vaccines against Covid-19 were approved rapidly while the first trials for one against malaria date all the way back to the 1940s. Ahead of World Malaria Day on Sunday, the UN health agency has insisted that elimination of the disease that kills some 400,000 people each year around the globe is a “viable goal for all countries”. But a vaccine breakthrough remains key, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Oxford trial result was a “landmark achievement”.