- After field tests on about 1,600 children in Mozambique, scientists and pharmaceutical companies today loudly presented a possible future malaria vaccine to the world press. Multinational GlaxoSmithKline hopes to have the vaccine on the market by 2010, assuming that the medicine could reach a price of between US$ 10 and 20 per dose.
This largest malaria vaccine efficacy trial ever conducted in Africa had "re-confirmed the vaccine's safety in one-to-four year old children," the medical team said in a press statement prepared on Monday but released today. "Further efficacy studies will be needed before consideration for licensure," the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) sponsored medical team however added.
The controlled trial had involved 2022 children in southern Mozambique and was conducted by the Mozambican Centro de Investigação em Saude da Manhiça (CISM). GSK Biologicals and the Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) had co-sponsored the trial, which had been properly approved by Mozambique's Ministry of Health.
Mozambique's Minister of Health, Francisco Songane, said his nation was proud to be a part of such a "groundbreaking" study. "Malaria is the number one killer of African children. We did this not only for the people of Mozambique, but for the people all over Africa whose health and development suffer greatly from this terrible disease," said Minister Songane.
- These findings represent a breakthrough in the science of malaria vaccines, held Dr Melinda Moree, who was involved in the testing. "They provide convincing evidence that a vaccine could become part of the world’s efforts to spare children and families from the devastating effects of this disease. This brings us another step closer to a licensed vaccine."
According to the study, vaccine efficacy against clinical malaria attacks was 30 percent. Efficacy against primary infection was 45 percent and efficacy against severe disease was 58 percent. "The results of this trial represent a significant scientific advance and an important step forward, Dr Pedro Alonso of Mozambique's CISM commented. Dr Alonso was the principal investigator of the GSK study.
Due to the need for further studies, the pharmaceutical giant did not expect that a licensed malaria vaccine would be available before 2010. By then, it is projected that half the world's population, or 3.5 billion people, will be living in areas in which malaria is transmitted. "The economic costs of the disease for Africa alone are equivalent to US$ 12 billion annually," the GSK statement to the press said.
Jean Stephenne of GSK today told the world press that the possible future malaria vaccine contained two costly active ingredients, meaning that it could become more expansive than ordinary vaccines. The multinational's representative expected costs for a single dose could reach between US$ 10 and 20, but emphasised that this was only a hypothetical figure.
In Mozambique, the investigations into the possible malaria vaccine have meant a large input of prestige to the Centro de Investigação em Saude da Manhiça (CISM). The testing of the vaccine has mostly been in the hands of Mozambican scientists.
The CISM is the first peripheral health research centre in Mozambique to undertake medical research into the key health problems in the country. Founded in 1996, CISM was developed under a collaborative programme between the Mozambican Ministry of Health, the Maputo School of Medicine (Universidade Eduardo Mondlane), and the Hospital Clinic of the University of Barcelona, with core funding from the Spanish development agency.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.