Medical breakthrough – The world’s first malaria vaccine is a step closer to its official launching in Africa.
The vaccine has been given a go signal by the European regulators and they recommended that it should be approved to use in Africa who are at risk of the mosquito-borne disease.
Mosquirix, also known as RTS,S vaccine, would be the first ever human vaccine against a parasitic infection because it is extremely hard to make a vaccine against a parasite than a bacteria or virus.
GlaxoSmithKline, British pharmaceutical company, developed the shot in partnership with PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and now counting on the success of it, as it will be assessed by World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr Ripley Ballou, head of research wing at GSK vaccines, said “This is a hugely significant moment. I have been working on this vaccine for almost 30 years and this is a dream come true.”
The world is in need of a vaccine to prevent malaria, which kills nearly 600,000 people every year, most of those fatalities are from sub-Saharan Africa.
Majority of the deaths are in children under the age of five and around 90 % of these are occurring in African countries.
Malaria is caused by a parasite belonging to genus Plasmodium and transmitted by an infected female Anopheles mosquito. It causes wide range of symptoms including high-grade fever, fatigue, headache, jaundice, splenomegaly, seizure, and coma.
Andre Witty, chief executive of GSK, said that the recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was a vital step towards making the world’s first malaria vaccine.
“The vaccine should be used alongside other interventions currently available like bed nets and insecticides. It would provide a great contribution to control the impact of the infection on children in those African communities where it is needed the most,” he added.
During the clinical trial of the shot, it appeared that it provides the best immunity to the children aged 17 months to five years old. These kids received three doses of RTS,S vaccine which is to be given in three consecutive months and a booster at 20 months.
As a result, the cases of severe malaria were reduced by a third over four year period in the trial group.
There are a lot of questions that need to be answered relating to the effectiveness of this discovery. All these concerns will be answered in the passage of time.
As for the fate on the final approval of the vaccine, WHO will hopefully decide in October whether it should be ready for public usage or the other way around. IMAGE/healthytravelblog.com