Hope Rises For Malaria Vaccine In Africa | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Hope Rises For Malaria Vaccine In Africa

Posted: May 10, 2015 at 6:16 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

A malaria vaccine, developed at Oxford University, was declared 67 percent effective in a study of 121 men in Kenya, in a move targeted at the most dangerous strain of the disease, which is still widespread in many parts of Africa.

reports say malaria claims about 1,300 children in sub-Saharan Africa daily, and researchers are developing a vaccine to protect those most at risk.

According to the World Health Organisation, there were 198 million cases of malaria in 2013 and about 584,000 deaths related to the disease.

But it has taken scientists more than two decades to make any real progress, because of the nature of the parasites transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

In total, there are four different parasites that cause malaria. It is not yet known whether the Oxford vaccine protects against all variants of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite or just one.

The BBC said at the weekend that Prof Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, said: “Such high efficacy in this first field trial is encouraging for further testing in children and infants who most need a malaria vaccine.”

Tests to ascertain the safety of the vaccine are being carried out on children and babies in Burkina Faso.

Prof. Chris Drakeley, professor of infection and immunity and director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine malaria centre, was involved in collating data from final clinical trials of another malaria vaccine in young children, published recently.

“This research was carried out in a group of adults, when the disease burden is actually in children,” he said.

“We also found initially high levels of protection in similar early trials in adults.

“There is no one magic bullet approach. We need a multiple approach, and countries need a tool box of options to fight against the disease,” Drakeley said.