Health experts came up with a new malaria vaccine believed to be more effective than the other medicines for the illness as it could potentially save thousands. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that three African nations will get to test the first batch of this new malaria vaccine.
The announcement came on the evening of World Malaria Day and WHO said the vaccines will roll out by 2018. This marked the first time the vaccine will be tested outside of the laboratories, where the experts made and experimented them. WHO said the three African countries that will get the first batch of the vaccine are Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.
GSK scientists created the vaccine, called RTS, S or Mosquirix, in 1987 but PATH Malaria Initiative and the Bill and Melina Gates Foundation recently teamed up to update and develop the serum. They designed the RTS, S vaccine to attack the malaria parasite and experts hoped the vaccine will protect children from the illness' deadliest form called Plasmodium falciparum.
The experts did not ascertain yet that the vaccine will work at its maximum potential when taken to Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. The circumstances in the areas mentioned might affect the effectivity of the vaccine. In the clinical trials, the health officials achieved positive effects from using the new malaria vaccine.
As for how the vaccine works, it will be given in four doses. For the first three consecutive months, the experts will give the patients one dose for each month. They will then give the fourth dose 18 months after the last dose, BBC revealed.
The pilot program will most probably affect 750,000 children, aged 17-months-old to five-years-old. The researchers say the four doses prevented four malaria cases out of 10. However, the fourth dose is a must in order to see better results and cut down more cases of malaria.
In a statement from Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director in Africa, he said the vaccine being tested in their area is great news. He added that the pilot program, its effects and possible problems, will help them understand more about it in order to use the vaccine at a wider range.
From the year 2000 to 2015, there was a 62 percent reduction in malaria-related deaths. Amid this reduction, experts still recorded 212 million new cases of malaria and 429,000 deaths every year.
The symptoms of uncomplicated malaria include shivering, fever, headache, vomiting and tiredness. If the malaria is severe, a person experiences fever, chills, impaired consciousness, multiple convulsions, respiratory distress, abnormal bleeding, clinical jaundice and vital organ dysfunction, Medical News Today reported.
Malaria is transmitted through a mosquito bite and these carriers are most active between dusk to dawn. It occurs mostly in poor and tropical areas.