Wednesday, October 9, 2013

World's First Malaria Vaccine To Be Commercially Available Soon

From test trial, the world’s first vaccine to tackle malaria, a disease that threatens the life of about 3.3 billion worldwide, will soon be available in commercial quantity for the treatment of the disease. British drug maker, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is seeking regulatory approval to produce the malaria vaccine for sale, after trial data showed that it had cut the number of cases in African children.

Experts Tuesday welcomed the bid, saying they are optimistic about the possibility of the world's first vaccine being deployed to tame malaria, after the trial results. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide yearly, with an estimated 219 million cases of the disease reported in 2010, causing an estimated 660,000 deaths.

But scientists said an effective vaccine was crucial to attempts to eradicate the disease instead of the drug regimen being used now to fight it. The vaccine known as RTS,S was found to have almost halved the number of malaria cases in young children in the trial and to have reduced by about 25 per cent the number of malaria cases in infants.

GSK is developing RTS,S with the non-profit Path Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), supported by funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Researchers found out that the vaccine, which is being developed in the US, protected 12 out of 15 patients from the disease, when given in high doses.
The method is unusual because it involves injecting live but weakened malaria-causing parasites directly into patients to trigger immunity.

"Many millions of malaria cases fill the wards of our hospitals," said Halidou Tinto, a lead investigator on the RTS,S trial from Burkina Faso.

"Progress is being made with bed nets and other measures, but we need more tools to battle this terrible disease,” Tinto added.

The malaria trial was Africa's largest-ever clinical exercise involving almost 15,500 children in seven countries.

The findings were presented at a medical meeting in Durban, South Africa.

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