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Thursday, 20 October 2011

New vaccine fights malaria better, study shows

A mother and her baby sleep under a mosquito net. First results from a large-scale Phase III trial of RTS,S, published online in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), show the malaria vaccine can provide young African children with significant protection against clinical and severe malaria with an acceptable safety and tolerability. Photo | File  
According to Roll Back Malaria (RBM), a global partnership initiated by WHO, UNDP, UNICEF and the World Bank in 1998 to reduce the human and socio-economic costs of malaria, the disease costs Africa more than US$ 12 billion every year in lost GDP, even though it could be controlled for a fraction of that sum.

Malaria is Africa's leading cause of under-five mortality (20 per cent) and constitutes 10 per cent of the continent's overall disease burden. It accounts for 40 per cent of public health expenditure, 30-50 per cent of inpatient admissions, and up to 50 per cent of outpatient visits in areas with high malaria transmission.

Half the world’s population is at risk of malaria which is responsible for close to 800,000 deaths each year, most of whom are children under five in sub-Saharan Africa.

The vaccine, based on a protein first identified in the laboratory of Drs Ruth and Victor Nussenzweig at New York University, was invented, developed and manufactured in laboratories at GSK Biologicals’ headquarters in Belgium in the late 1980s and initially tested in US volunteers as part of a collaboration with the US Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

With more than US$200 million in grant monies from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, MVI contributes financial, scientific, managerial, and field expertise to the development of RTS,S.

Most malaria infections in Africa south of the Sahara are caused by Plasmodium falciparum, the most severe and life-threatening form of the disease.

This region is also home to the most efficient, and therefore deadly, species of the mosquitoes which transmit the disease.

War on malaria has gone a notch higher. A new vaccine has proven it can give children significant protection against the deadly disease that is responsible for close to 800,000 deaths each year.

Continue reading: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/africa/New+vaccine+fights+malaria+better++study+shows/-/1066/1258052/-/jihwdaz/-/


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