Announcement of initial results of promising malaria vaccine expected

Ghanaian scientists will be among several top notch researchers and malaria experts who will be converging in the US, where initial results on the RTS,S malaria candidate vaccine are expected to be released early next week in Seattle, USA.

It will be the outcome of on-going tests being conducted among African children participating in Phase 3 of clinical trials in seven countries in what could be described as the world’s largest malaria trials into a vaccine which has eluded humankind for years.

Scientists from Ghana’s Kintampo and Agogo research centres and others from nine other sites in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Malawi are expected to present some initial findings on results obtained so far into the trial on the efficacy of the experimental vaccine.

The RTS,S candidate has come farther than any prior malaria vaccine and is now closer to its final stages and subsequent submission for licensure.

The vaccine is a very promising candidate malaria vaccine and in some earlier studies has been proven to be safe, efficacious and was shown to reduce severe malaria by 50 per cent.

Although, a 100 per cent protection is preferred, however, malaria kills a million children every year across Africa, so even at this level of protection, the RTS,S vaccine  has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives.

During the Phase 3 trials being carried out in the seven countries, some 16,000 children were enrolled in the 11 sites. If the vaccine is confirmed to reduce cases of malaria in the Phase 3 and is licensed, it could be made available as early as 2012, for children aged 5-17 months and as early as 2015, for younger infants as part of the child immunization series. The RTS,S vaccine, discovered in 1987 has come a long way. GSK Biologicals, in Belgium, developed and manufactures the vaccine and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative is sponsoring the seven African countries to undertake the trials.

Meanwhile, a major international forum on malaria elimination is expected to assemble experts on the way forward on malaria eradication. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 2011 Malaria Forum on Optimism and Urgency will be held October 17–19 in Seattle, WA, and will bring together the global malaria control community to assess progress and next steps in the global fight to stop malaria.

A release made available by Meg DeRonghe, Policy and Advocacy Director, of the  PATH Malaria Control Program, in the US said on Monday, October 17, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership will release its final Progress & Impact Series report, “Eliminating Malaria: Learning From the Past, Looking Ahead.”

“National program experiences across Africa demonstrate malaria can be eliminated today in many places using existing tools such as long-lasting insecticide treated nets and aggressive case detection and treatment. New strategies and tools, such as vaccines, which are soon expected to be available, will strengthen the effort,” the release stated.

By Eunice Menka

1 Comment
  1. Karen says

    Even when children are at their most risk, profits comes into play. GSK knows there is a 95% effective vaccine developed by Dr. Patarroyo in S.A, but jet this scientist is not welcome because he does not want any profit from this vaccine. What a Shame GSK.

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