World’s first malaria vaccine soon

About 95 percent of the Indian population resides in malaria-endemic areas

shreerupa

Shreerupa Mitra-Jha | November 19, 2016 | Geneva


#Africa   #India   #WHO   #vaccine   #Malaria  


 The world’s first malaria vaccine will be rolled out in pilot settings in 2018, the results of which would give an indication of whether they can be deployed on a wider scale, the World Health Organisation confirmed on Friday. 

 
The first-generation vaccine known as RTS, S will be tried in pilot projects in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018. Also known as Mosquirix, it works against P. falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite globally, and has been in development for the past three decades. Until now, vaccines fought viruses and bacteria but this is the first vaccine of its kind to fight parasites targeting the T-cells, which are part of the body’s immune system. 
 
“The pilot deployment of this first-generation vaccine marks a milestone in the fight against malaria,” said Dr. Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme, said in a statement. 
 
WHO estimates that India takes the disproportionate burden for the vector-borne disease accounting for 75 percent of all malaria cases in South-East Asia. About 95 percent of the Indian population resides in malaria-endemic areas. However, 80 percent of the disease is concentrated in areas where 20 percent of the population resides in tribal and hard-to-reach or inaccessible areas—typically rural areas of eastern and north-eastern states. 
 
Three of the world’s biggest health financing institutions—Gavi: the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and UNITAID—came together to tackle a disease that killed 4,38,000 people, largely children, in 2015. 
 
While the Global Fund yesterday approved $15 million for the malaria vaccine pilots, Gavi and UNITAID had earlier in the year announced commitments of up to $27.5 million and $9.6 million, respectively, for the first four years of the vaccine programme. 
 
RTS,S that has been developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline is, however, only partially effective and will only be deployed on a pilot basis before a call on its wide-scale use is taken. 
 
It is the only vaccine to have successfully completed the important Phase 3 clinical trials, involving 15,000 infants and young children in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa. 
 
However, with the older children (between five and 17 months of age) who participated in the clinical trials, there was a risk of febrile seizures within a week after any one of the four doses of the vaccine while with infants, these seizures were apparent only after the fourth dose. WHO says that there were “no long-lasting consequences due to any of the febrile seizures”.
 
Also, during the Phase 3 RTS,S trials, meningitis and cerebral malaria cases increased among the older children who received the malaria vaccine as compared to the control group. However, no such increase was observed in infants aged 6–12 weeks. The significance of these findings in relation to the vaccination is unclear, the UN’s health agency says. 
 
 Mosquirix, created as a partnership between GSK and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), needed an investment of more than $565 million of which Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have contributed more than $200 million while African research centres contributed the rest.
 
The vaccine was approved by the European Medicines Agency in July last year paving the way for WHO to adopt the SAGE-MPAC recommendations at the beginning of the year of a pilot implementation of the RTS,S vaccine in three to five settings in sub-Saharan Africa. 
 
“These pilots are critical to determine whether this vaccine can be rolled out more broadly, adding an important new tool to the proven interventions we already have in the fight against malaria,” Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance said. 
 
 

Comments

 

Other News

On a personal note: Javed Jaffrey

After his much-appreciated debut in Meri Jung in 1985, Javed Jaffrey inspired a new generation of dancers. He then turned from dance to comedy. The versatile actor constantly changes his styles and his live, film, TV and radio appearances always promise novelty and surprise. In 2014 he joined the Aam A

Allegations against CJI: Inquiry will strengthen the independence of the judiciary

Yes, we must stand rock solid with the judiciary and the judges. We must protect the independence of the judiciary too. What does this mean in the present context of a very serious charge of sexual harassment levelled by a former employee of the court against the CJI?  We are told that there is a larg

“Managing data is challenging”

The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) is a society set up by the railways ministry in July 1986 to provide IT related services to the Indian Railways. CRIS deals in a gamut of functions, like passenger ticketing, freight operations, train dispatching and control, crew management, e-procurement,

A boost to those who need it most

What are 600 million people? Almost twice the population of the US. What are 500 million people? About three-fourth of the population of Europe. Why are we talking about these numbers? Well, because as per a study by Sandhya Krishnan and Neeraj Hatekar (‘Rise of New Middle Class in India and Its

Expanding Eureka!

Abright yellow van with figures of children playing with a whirligig, a Newton’s cradle, a magnetic compass rolls into the Government Higher Primary School in Kittaganahalli, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Students in the playground leave what they are doing and mill about it in excitement. For they

The spark in the classroom

Not many children dream of starting an idyllic school of their own when they grow up. But Ramji Raghavan, founder of the Agastya International Foundation – which fosters the creative learning of science in stude



Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter