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The Malaria vaccine was hailed as a success – KBC

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The malaria vaccine has proven to be 77% effective in early trials and could be a great success against the disease, says the Oxford University team behind it.

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Malaria kills more than 400,000 people a year, most of them children in sub-Saharan Africa.

But despite many vaccines being tested over the years, this is the first to achieve the desired goal.

Researchers say the vaccine could have a significant impact on public health.

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When tested on 450 children in Burkina Faso, the vaccine was shown to be safe, and showed “high efficacy” over 12 months of follow-up.

Extensive trials for nearly 5,000 children between the ages of five months and three years will now be conducted in four African countries to confirm the results.

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Although preventable and curable, the World Health Organization estimates that there were 229 million cases worldwide in 2019 and 409,000 deaths.

The disease begins with symptoms such as fever, headache and chills and, without treatment, can quickly develop into a serious illness and often fatal.

‘Major health effects’

Study author Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute and a professor of immunization at Oxford University, said he believed the vaccine was the first to reach the World Health Organization’s goal of at least 75% success.

The most effective malaria vaccine to date had only shown 55% effectiveness in trials for African children.

Trials of this malaria vaccine began in 2019, long before the coronavirus appeared – and the Oxford team developed the Covid (and AstraZeneca) vaccine on the strength of its research on malaria, Prof Hill said.

The malaria vaccine has taken longer to bear fruit because there are thousands of genes in malaria compared to about a dozen coronaviruses, and a very strong immune response is needed to fight the disease.

“That’s a real technical challenge,” Prof Hill said. “Most vaccines have not worked because they are too complex.”

However, he said the results of the trial meant the vaccine was “widely used” and “has the potential to have a significant impact on public health”.

‘A tool for saving lives’

In a study published earlier by The Lancet, the research team – from Oxford, Nanoro in Burkina Faso and the United States – reported the results of the R21 / Matrix-M trial, after testing the minimum and maximum immunization rate for children, in mid-May and August, before the peak of the malaria season.

The vaccine showed a 77% effectiveness in the high dose group and 71% in the low dose group.

Halidou Tinto, a professor of parasitic diseases and chief experimental investigator at the Nanoro Clinical Research Unit, Burkina Faso, said the results were “very interesting” and showed “the most effective rates”.

“We look forward to the forthcoming trial of the” Third Phase “to show greater data on safety and efficacy for the much-needed vaccine in this region.”

In Africa, there have been more deaths from malaria than from coronavirus in the past year.

The Serum Institute of India, which developed the vaccine, says it is confident of providing more than 200 million doses of the vaccine as soon as it is approved by regulators.

Biotechnology company Novavax provided an enhancement to the vaccine, an ingredient that is used to create a strong immune response.

Malaria is one of the leading causes of child mortality in Africa and Prof Charlemagne Ou√©draogo, Burkina Faso’s health minister, said new data showed that a new malaria vaccine could be licensed “in the coming years”.

“That will be a very important tool to control malaria and save the lives of many people,” he said.

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