Tuesday, 23 May, 2017

Ghana, Kenya, Malawi chosen to test first malaria vaccine

Mathematical models accurately predict real-life malaria outbreaks Ghana, Kenya, Malawi chosen to test first malaria vaccine
Arthur Frazier | 26 April, 2017, 09:02

The WHO is closely working with Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi to facilitate regulatory authorization of the malaria vaccine for use in the pilot programs through the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum (AVAREF). And, if all goes well, the new malaria vaccine will affect children in the best possible way: By saving tens of thousands of lives when used in conjunction with other, existing preventive measures. World Health Organization regional director Dr Matshidiso Moeti said that, combined with existing measures such as mosquito nets and insecticides, the vaccine could save "tens of thousands" of lives. The vaccine needs to be administered four times, once a month for three months and a fourth dose 18 months later.

At least 120,000 children in each of the selected three countries will receive the vaccine, which has taken decades of work and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop.

The vaccine, RTS, S, also known as Mosquirix, was created by scientists at GSK in 1987. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of people who died from this disease decreased by 62%.

The WHO at an event in Nairobi, Kenya, said the global tally of malaria reached 429,000 deaths and 212 million new cases in 2015, with one child dying from malaria every two minutes. Between 2000 and 2015, the deaths associated with the disease decreased almost 62 percent, while there is a 21 percent reduction in the total number of cases.

Another malaria vaccine is the Sanaria® PfSPZ-CVac, which was first tested in 2013.

The vaccine will be tested on children aged from five to 17 months to see whether protective effects shown so far in clinical trials can hold up under real-life conditions.

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According to experts, it reflects the vision of a world without the disease, established in the World Technical Strategy against malaria 2016-2030.

Acting WHO Representative in Pakistan said that on World Malaria Day, WHO is calling on countries and their development partners to provide universal access to malaria prevention tools for everyone at risk.

The global health body made the call in a statement on Monday ahead of the World Malaria Day.

While India also reports cases of malaria, situation in the country is not as bad as in Africa. The majority were young children in Africa.

The vaccine is developed by the British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in partnership with the NGO Path Malaria Vaccine Initiative. In 2015, the region was home to 90 per cent of malaria cases and 92 per cent of malaria deaths.

Experts say the the pilot program for the vaccine, which is administered through injection and is created to protect young children from the most deadly form of malaria, according to the World Health Organization, could have a massive impact.

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