Drugs/Therapy

World Health Organization To Test First Malaria Vaccine In Africa; Details Here

Gerard Black
April 25, 2017 09:27 AM EDT

The World Health Organization (WHO) will pilot the world's first malaria vaccine in three sub-Saharan African countries to determine its effectiveness against the disease in 2018. Get to know more details, here.

What Is This Vaccine?

The malaria vaccine is called RTS,S and will be tested whether it will perform well in "real-life" conditions in Malawi, Ghana, and Kenya. These countries were chosen to conduct the large-scale clinical trials because they have massive health programs versus malaria but remain with the highest number of cases accounting for almost 90% of the world's cases in 2015, ABC News reported.

The malaria vaccine will be given in four doses to more than 750,000 children between five and 17 months old. The WHO will test the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine which will be given once a month for three months then the fourth dose after 18 months. The malaria vaccine does not give total protection against the disease but scientists believe it still has the potential of saving lives if used with current ways to mitigate the spread of the disease, BBC reported.

Malaria-Free By 2040?

The WHO envisions that malaria will be eradicated by 2040 but all over the world, there are still over 400,000 deaths resulting from it. The situation on malaria is aggravated because of resistance of the mosquitoes the insecticides used against them. The virus is also showing some resistance against the anti-malarial drugs.

While the malaria vaccine is not yet available in the US, the Center for Disease Control describes several ways that malaria could be transmitted so the public may be aware. The disease is spread by mosquitoes when they suck blood from an infected individual and inadvertently transfer the virus to a healthy person when it tries to feed again.

Congenital malaria occurs when the infection is passed on by a pregnant mother to her unborn child. Transfusion malaria rarely occurs but is possible because there are no screenings in the US for donated blood against malaria.