How Malaria vaccine can save Africa, Asia from killer disease

Kenya, which is rolling-out RTS, S in the western county of Homa Bay, joins Malawi and Ghana, which earlier this year commenced their own pilot vaccination programmes supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Third country to roll out malaria vaccine

Kenya on Friday added the world's first malaria vaccine to the routine immunisation schedule for children under two, becoming the third country in Africa to roll out the vaccine for the disease that kills one child globally every two minutes.

(Photograph:AFP)

Malaria: Top killer of children under five in Kenya

Kenya, which is rolling-out RTS,S in the western county of Homa Bay, joins Malawi and Ghana, which earlier this year commenced their own pilot vaccination programmes supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Malaria is a top killer of children under five in the East African nation, and the vaccine is critically important to its efforts to combat the disease.

(Photograph:AFP)

What is RTS,S vaccine?

The world's first licensed malaria vaccine, RTS,S is a recombinant protein-based malaria vaccine which was approved for use by European regulators in July 2015. The shots of RTS, S, administered over four doses, have been shown in clinical trials to significantly reduce cases of malaria, and malaria-related complications, in young children.

"RTS,S is designed to prevent the malaria parasite from infecting, maturing, and multiplying in the liver," PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative said on its website.

The vaccine prevented about four in 10 cases of malaria and three in 10 cases of the most severe, life-threatening form of the disease, within the trial group, WHO says.

(Photograph:AFP)

Who developed it?

The RTS,S vaccine was created in the late 1980s by scientists working at SmithKline Beecham Biologicals now known as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Vaccines, laboratories in Belgium. 

It was further developed through a collaboration between GSK and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, a US-based biomedical research facility. It has been funded in part by the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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90% of malaria cases in 2016 were in the African Region

According to a report by WHO, 90 per cent of the cases in 2016 were in the African Region (194 000), followed by the South-East Asia Region (7 per cent) and the Eastern Mediterranean Region (2 per cent).

Fifteen countries accounted for 80 per cent of all malaria cases globally. 

Nigeria accounted for the highest proportion of cases globally (27 per cent), followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (10 per cent), India (6 per cent) and Mozambique (4 per cent).

(Photograph:AFP)

Malaria outbreak in Indonesia

A report in September 2018 said a malaria outbreak has infected at least 137 people in Indonesia’s West Lombok.

Among the 137 infected are babies and pregnant women.

The government has taken steps to prevent the disease from spreading such as taking blood samples, distributing mosquito nets and fogging.

(Photograph:AFP)

Malaria in India

According to the World Malaria Report 2017, in the year 2016, more than half of the population was at risk of malaria. According to the Report, India accounted for 6 per cent of all malaria cases in the world, 6 per cent of the deaths, and 51 per cent of the global Plasmodium Vivax cases. 

The report estimates the total cases in India at 1.31 million and deaths at 23990.

(Photograph:AFP)

NASA developing malaria-predicting technology

NASA is developing a new technique to forecast malaria outbreaks in Myanmar from space, as the emergence of new drug-resistant strains in Southeast Asia threatens efforts to wipe out the deadly disease globally.

(Photograph:Zee News Network)