First Real-World Test for Malaria Vaccine
- Author: Delores Daniels Apr 25, 2017,
Apr 25, 2017, 3:35
Three African countries Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi have been chosen to test the world's first malaria vaccine. However, Pedro Alonso, the director of the WHO's Global Malaria Program, explains that there is a long way to go in tackling the disease: "It still takes the lives of over 400,000 people every year - mostly African children".
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The vaccine will be assessed in the pilot programme as a complementary malaria control tool that could potentially be added to the core package of WHO-recommended measures for malaria prevention. The vaccine will be used alongside other preventative measures such as bed nets, insecticides, repellents and anti-malarial drugs, the World Health Organization said.
Back in 2015-despite an EMA green light for the shot based on phase 3 data involving more than 15,000 children in African countries-the WHO chose to evaluate the vaccine's real-world performance before recommending it for a full rollout.
Mosquirix was created for a four-dose inoculation and will be administered to children as young as 17 months but no older than 5.
Symptoms of malaria include fever, muscle pain and headache as well as vomiting and diarrhoea.
Experts are bound to start pilot programs for malaria vaccine in a few countries next year. But, the benefits seemingly fall off significantly without the fourth dose.
The large-scale pilot is the latest step in decades of work seeking to eradicate malaria with the numbers dying falling almost two-thirds since the turn of the century. "Combined with existing malaria interventions, such a vaccine would have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives in Africa".
With about 90 percent of the world's cases in 2015, sub-Saharan Africa is hardest hit by the disease.
In clinical trials it proved only partially effective, and it needs to be given in a four-dose schedule, but is the first regulator-approved vaccine against the mosquito-borne disease.
Global efforts between 2000 and 2015, however, have led to a 62 percent reduction in malaria deaths. It aims to trigger the body's own immune system to defend against malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum - the most deadly species of the malaria parasite, which is the most prevalent in Africa.
The WHO is hoping to wipe out malaria by 2040 despite increasing resistance problems to both drugs and insecticides used to kill mosquitoes.
Sinnis was meeting with other malaria researchers to talk about the latest scientific advances in vaccine development.
The statement also said that World Health Organization and GSK would provide $49.2m for the pilot programme, matching the contribution by partners.