African scientists' historic malaria breakthrough celebrated by peers

Dr. Akpaka Kalu, WHO Regional Advisor for Tropical and Vector-borne Disease, mentioned constructive outcomes from ongoing pilot packages of malaria vaccinations in three African international locations — Ghana, Malawi and Kenya — had led the group to suggest widespread use of RTS,S/AS0 or Mosquirix amongst kids in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The datasets that were generated in these studies and field trials were by African scientists,” Kalu mentioned.

The vaccine, a product of 30 years of analysis, was developed by British drug producer GlaxoSmithKline in collaboration with Seattle-based well being nonprofit PATH and a community of African analysis facilities, with partial funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the WHO mentioned.

Kalu mentioned there are ongoing discussions to switch vaccine manufacturing know-how to Africa as amenities on the continent construct out native infrastructure to supply Covid-19 vaccines.

“We hope that the same technology used for Covid vaccines will be used to manufacture malaria vaccines and other vaccines in the future,” he mentioned.

Picture taken on September 13, 2019 in Ndhiwa, Homabay County, western Kenya shows the new malaria vaccine.
“This long-awaited vaccine, developed in Africa, by African scientists, is a breakthrough for science, child health, and malaria control,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned in a thread on his official Twitter account Wednesday.

Proud colleagues

In Ghana, Dr. Keziah L Malm, Program Manager on the National Malaria Control Programme, instructed CNN she was pleased with the contributions made by her colleagues who took half within the medical trial.

“It’s been so long and it is refreshing to see the results of the collaboration of Ghanaian scientists, whom I know personally know worked on this research and studies,” she mentioned.

Keziah mentioned malaria is illness that largely impacts Africans and it was necessary that analysis on prevention and remedy be led by consultants on the continent.

Malaria is the main reason for loss of life and sicknesses in kids below the age of 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 260,000 kids below the age of 5 yearly, in response to the WHO.

To date, greater than 800,000 kids have obtained the pilot vaccine by way of clinics, the WHO mentioned.

Clinical trials have concluded that the vaccine provides 39% safety in opposition to malaria in new child kids between the ages of 5 and 17 months. Further analysis additionally means that the vaccine’s advantages fades over time.

Dr. Doyin Odubanjo, a public well being knowledgeable and Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Academy of Science, mentioned the vaccine is one other instrument for combating malaria and shouldn’t be seen as a magic bullet for its prevention.

“The vaccine is effective enough in reducing the cases of severe malaria though it is not generally highly effective and its effect wanes quickly as too,” Odubanjo mentioned.

“This means that we must not abandon the other tools.”

Reporting contributed by CNN’s Jacqueline Howard and Lauren Moorhouse.

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