Malaria Vaccine Breakthrough

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This week it was reported in various news and current affairs that the whole world is battling against the eradication of malaria. The discovery of the first malaria vaccine will be contributing a great leap in the endeavor of the globe to achieve a malaria-free world.

The major clinical trial for the first malaria vaccine was given to several African children, and results reveal that the malaria vaccine reduced the risk of having malaria by almost half.

British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline’s lab in Belgium is the group behind the successful research on malaria vaccine known as the RTS,S. This vaccine started Pivotal Phase III evaluation in May 2009. It was designated not for the travelers who go from one place to another, but for the children residing in malaria-endemic areas and have the heightened risk of acquiring the said disease.

The RTS,S vaccine was successful in decreasing the risk of malaria by blocking the parasite which causes the clinical manifestation of the disease. It was engineered and formulated to boost the immune system of the person who received a shot of this vaccine. The genes from the outer protein of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite and a portion of a hepatitis B virus plus a chemical adjuvant are the composition of the said vaccine.

The researchers consider the phase III trial of the vaccine successful after seeing great results from 11 sites in Sub-Saharan Africa. The primary objective of the vaccine is to reduce the number of severe malaria cases and deaths in infants and children exposed to high transmission rates.

The significant results of the said breakthrough were published online in the New England Journal of Medicine, and were simultaneously announced at the Malaria Forum hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington.

The findings of the clinical trial revealed that there was about fifty-six (56) per cent of lower risk of acquiring the disease for those who received 3 shots of vaccine. The population involved children from ages five (5) to seventeen (17) months. In addition, for those who received the vaccine and had severe malaria which is already crucial and life-threatening, it was reported that the risk was lowered up to 47 per cent.

“This is remarkable when you consider that there has never been a successful vaccine against a human parasite,” Tsiri Agbenyega said, chair of RTS,S Clinical Trials Partnership and head of malaria research at Komfo-Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana.

According to the World Health Organization, the whole globe is now on its course of eliminating malaria. This is also in conjunction with the Malaria Vaccine Initiative which aims to meet the following goals:

  • Developing and licensing a first-generation vaccine by 2015 with 50 percent protective efficacy against severe disease and death that would last longer than one year.
  • Developing a malaria vaccine by 2025 that would have a protective efficacy of more than 80 percent against clinical disease and that would provide protection for longer than four years.





  1. Henry Ongoto says:

    This will save many lives. Let another one be made fon adults

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