Kintampo Health Research Centre readies to build on malaria vaccine, RTS,S success

The Kintampo Health  Research Centre, one of the 11 trial sites researching into the candidate RTS,S malaria vaccine, is planning to build on the legacies of the malaria trial by initiating moves to go into antibiotics trials and reduce the burden of bacterial diseases.

Dr Kwaku Poku Asante, a Lead Researcher into the RTS,S at Kintampo, said there are currently many on-going trials into other malaria vaccines across the globe and as part of the way forward,  Kintampo is gearing up to use the legacies, infrastructure and human resources gained from the RTS,S trials for other clinical trials.

Dr Asante was speaking at a day’s dissemination forum on malaria vaccines in Ghana held in Kumasi. It was organized by the Kintampo Health Research Centre and the Malaria Research Centre at Agogo, under the auspices of the WHO and funders of the RTS,S trials across Africa, MVI/PATH.

Dr Asante said the malaria trials taking place at Kintampo has seen a big contribution to infrastructure development and provision of equipment such as microbiology and bio-chemical laboratories, Xray machines and a data management system.

He said the local community has also been cooperative in supporting the trials at the health centre based on good will and mutual respect.

Meanwhile, Prof Tsiri Agbenyega, a Principal Investigator on the RTS,S at the Agogo, one of the 11 sites in the seven African countries, where the RTS,S trial is taking place, said the successful outcome of the vaccines will not be a solution or magic bullet against malaria.

He said the vaccine will still have to be used along with other tools such as treated bend nets, spray and drugs.

Over 15,000 children, infants aged 6-12 weeks and young children aged 5-17months, in Ghana, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania are taking part in the final stages in evaluating the efficacy and safety of the RTS,S vaccine.

The GSK Company in Belgium is the lead developer of the vaccine and has to date invested more than $300 million in the project, which currently ranks as the largest and first malaria vaccine trial in Africa.

By Eunice Menka

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