Anti-malaria vaccine in sight, claim researchers
New Delhi: Researchers have claimed that they are very close to developing an anti-malaria vaccine. Almost 15,000 African children are participating in the phase three trials for the initiative.
Two-year-old Philip Ouma is getting a shot that could transform the fight against malaria. He is one of the 15,000 African children participating in the phase three trial of a vaccine called Rts,s. Thirty years in development, it is the farthest any malaria vaccine candidate has ever gone. Researchers at trial site in Kenya say this could be a pivotal moment.
Kayla Laserson of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, "A vaccine will be an amazing thing, you know, if it's successful. We'll see a big difference because malaria is still really a tremendous problem for children."
Rts,s has been developed by Glaxo-Smith-Kline and the path malaria vaccine initiative. An earlier phase two trial showed that it was around 50-per cent effective in young children. It works by bolstering antibodies that fight malaria as soon as it attacks.
Dr Louis Macareo, Director, Kombewa clinical trial center, said, "What we try to duplicate with the vaccine is to stimulate the body's immune system to produce similar antibodies."
Results from this trial will be available over the next year and a half. If the vaccine meets expectations, approval and licensing could follow as soon as 2015. In the meantime, all eyes are on the 15,000 small children in the trial who could be making history whether they like it or not.