Malawi selected for malaria vaccine trials

Mathematical models accurately predict real-life malaria outbreaks

The trials aim to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine as well as the feasibility of its delivery to populations at risk as four successive doses must be given on a strict timetable.

Malaria stands as one of the world's most stubborn health challenges, infecting more than 200 million people every year and killing about half a million, majority children in Africa.

"Malaria prevention tools, including insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs), indoor residual spraying (IRS) and preventive therapies are powerful and cost-effective", notes Bakyaita.

However, in 2015, the estimated number of cases was 214 million, with 438,000 deaths, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites that are spread to people through the bites of infected Anopheles mosquito vectors. World Health Organization wants to vaccinate at least 120,000 children in each of the countries participating in the pilot program.

This is yet another solid front against a disease that has for years remained a major killer of children, women and men, taking a toll on productivity in the regions where it is endemic. Given the scale of malaria infection on a yearly basis, this means the vaccine could save hundreds of thousands of lives.

The organisation said the vaccine, developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives.

Global efforts between 2000 and 2015, however, have led to a 62 percent reduction in malaria deaths.

She adds that the countries were selected based on well-functioning malaria and immunisation programmes, with good coverage of recommended malaria control interventions and childhood vaccinations and desire to engage in the vaccine programme by national stakeholders.

That makes the progress that is this vaccines so, so necessary as researchers work to make it widely available if it proves in the clinical trials to be practical.

A new malaria vaccine will be tested in Africa. World Malaria Day, an offshoot of the Africa Malaria Day was established in May 2007 by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, WHO's decision-making body. It has shown limited efficacy in providing protection from malaria: trials showed that the vaccine prevented around 40 percent of cases in children aged between five and 17 months, while it also cut cases of severe malaria by a third.

In fact, 90 percent of malaria cases and 92 percent of malaria deaths occur in Africa.

Malawi has been selected for the world's ever first vaccine against malaria which will also involve Ghana and Kenya.

The Mosquirix vaccine (also called RTS, S) was created especially for infants aged 5 to 17-month olds, the World Health Organization said. Because plasmodium parasites constantly shape-shift-and are hard to grow in a lab-it's been really hard to develop a vaccine that effectively mimics an actual infection.

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