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

Lost in Transmission: Why calls ‘drop’, what can be done about it

Random call drops across cellular networks has been a major nuisance for consumers. Despite the advent of technologies like 4G, 5G and users upgrading their phones, they continue face the same old problem of call drops. Earlier, with 2G, calling was the primary service from the mobile telephony firms, howe

India’s Semiconductor Mission takes giant leap

The union cabinet on Thursday approved the establishment of three semiconductor units under ‘Development of Semiconductors and Display Manufacturing Ecosystems in India’. Involving a total investment of nearly Rs 1.26 lakh crore, the three units  -- two in Gujarat, one in Assam – wil

Mumbai Airport: Less congestion, fewer delays, says MoCA

Mumbai is one of busiest airports in India, handling a large volume of domestic and international flights including military, non-scheduled and general aviation flights. Mumbai`s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) has two intersecting runways which cannot be operated

“900 tenders worth Rs 150 crore?” For ward-level works: BMC

BrihanMumbai municipal corporation is floating nearly 900 tenders worth of Rs 150 crore in the next 10 days, but that is only for ward-level civic works, the BMC clarified on Monday, reacting to reports in a section of media.    “Since there are 25 wards in BMC, it involves m

Elections 2024: Banks, post offices to chip in for voter education

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two prominent organisations, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and the Department of Posts (DoP), to amplify its voter outreach and awareness efforts ahead of the forthcom

Charming tales of the Snakeman’s early years

Snakes, Drugs and Rock ’N’ Roll: My Early Years By Romulus Whitaker with Janaki Lenin HarperCollins, 400 pages, Rs 699

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter