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Possible Malaria Vaccine

Zoe Kavaney, Reporter

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According to CNN, The World Health Organization (WHO) may have created a vaccine for malaria. The official term for it is “RTS,S,” or Mosquirix. WHO is working with the governments in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi-which are three of the most hard-hit areas-to give the community access to this life-saving opportunity.

 

This was just announced by a representative for WHO at a scientific forum located in Nairobi, Kenya. If it turns out to work, the world may have just taken a huge step forward.

Mosquirix is being released to the public in 2018, after the initial testing phase is over and they’re completely sure of its potency. WHO will continue to monitor the results.

 

The most vulnerable victims to the disease are African children, specifically ones that can’t afford proper medical treatment. A whopping one out of five children do not receive the proper attention for malaria, due to geographic and economic issues. Making this vaccine accessible could potentially save thousands of lives. In a video for the Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) Dr. Agnes Onyango, a doctor working in Kombewa Research Center in Kenya, said that “the malaria vaccine could cut down deaths drastically.”

 

An earlier version of the vaccine was released to citizens of Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania in 2009. Unfortunately, the results weren’t clear. The solution has since been heavily altered, but the preferred results might still be years away.

 

According to the MVI website, the specific bacteria responsible for the majority of African malaria cases is Plasmodium Falciparum. RTS,S fights specifically against this pathogen, but not other bacteria. Research against Plasmodium Falciparum began in 2001, and eventually concluded in 2014. The search for an effective malaria vaccine started in 1980.

Various medical teams have been working on a cure for well over the past 30 years, and this might be just be the breakthrough the world’s been hoping for. Dr. Seth Berkley, the chief executive of Gavi, remarked that this “is a real achievement.”

 

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said that the possibility of a vaccine is “great news.”

 

However, it’s not entirely positive that it will work. It’s only been tested in an extremely controlled lab setting, so it wasn’t really an accurate simulation of the actual circumstances where the vaccine would be used.

 

According to the WHO website, in order for the vaccine to work correctly, it must be injected once a month for three months in a row, and finally injected a last time 18 months later. The fourth injection is the most important part of treatment, and without it the vaccine’s potential significantly lowers.

 

Around 750,000 kids have been treated with RTS,S, which will hopefully work as planned.

 

In the lab, four out of the 10 test subjects were protected, which means that this specific concoction has a higher potency than previously used solutions to malaria. However, this isn’t nearly as effective as WHO desires.

 

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Possible Malaria Vaccine