Science and technology have achieved vast progress in every field. New inventions are coming into light day by day. On Tuesday, Malawi will spearhead large scale pilot tests for the world’s most advanced experimental malaria vaccine. It will help to prevent the disease that kills hundreds of thousands across Africa every year.
The trial will be rolled out in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe this week and then in Kenya and Ghana next week. Three decades passed when this development started and almost $1 billion already invested in this project. The main aim of the vaccine is to immunize 120,000 children aged 2 and under to assess the effectiveness of the pilot vaccine and whether the delivery process is feasible.
The need for this medicine to work perfectly is four successive doses must be administered on a strict timetable. The drug has been developed by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative under the trade-named Mosquirix.
This vaccine is furthest along in development and so far the most effective, whether the potential vaccine will not give full protection against the mosquito-borne disease. Scientists say it could save hundreds of thousands of lives if it was rolled out on a large scale.
The researcher, Tisungane Mvalo, a pediatrician at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Project-Malawi in Lilongwe said, “Malaria can kill a child in less than 24 hours and even if the child survives, malaria can impact every organ, causing brain injury or even kidney issues. Prevention is better than treatment.”
Three countries were selected for trial named Malawi, Ghana, and Kenya because malaria rates are high and they have a long history of use of bed nets and other interventions. Malaria killed 435,000 people in 2017. The majority of them were children under 5 in Africa.
A researcher, Jonathan Juliano, from the University of North Carolina said, “Despite gains over the last decade, we have seen a stagnation in malaria control efforts in recent years.” He also said, “In certain areas of Africa, we have actually seen rates of malaria infection get worse. New interventions are needed to continue advancing toward elimination.”
WHO said that the fight against malaria has also been complicated by mosquitoes building up resistance to some commonly used insecticides.