Every year, malaria kills nearly half a million people worldwide. Of these, 270,000 were children. The insidious disease is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito and is considered the leading cause of infant mortality in the developing world. Recently, scientists discovered a way to immunize mosquitoes against the dangerous pathogen. In addition, a newly developed malaria vaccine is attracting worldwide attention.
Breakthrough in medicine – effective malaria vaccine developed
For many years, scientists have been searching for an effective vaccine against malaria. Researchers at Oxford University have now succeeded in creating a preparation that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), achieves an efficacy level of up to 75 percent. The vaccine is called “R 21 / Matrix-M”. Numerous studies have shown that this can reduce the risk of disease by up to 75 percent.
The number of participating subjects was relatively small. However, an additional Africa-wide study is expected to start soon.The first run involved 450 girls and boys aged 5 to 17 months at a clinic in the heart of Burkina Faso. Independent specialists have not yet looked at the results. According to a statement from the Oxford University researchers, no serious side effects were experienced by the young patients during the studies.
Corona pandemic inhibits investigations
The scientists’ goal is to reduce the mortality rate from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands of people in the next five years.Accordingly, an emergency approval of the drug would be a significant milestone in Professor Adrian Hill’s view. If successful, the malaria vaccine could be approved as early as the end of next year. However, the research team sees a fundamental problem in this context in the Corona pandemic. Due to numerous Covid 19 restrictions, the fight against malaria continues to stall.
Politicians take position
For almost two years, there have been interruptions or delays with regard to malaria vaccine research. On the occasion of World Malaria Day, German Development Minister Gerd Müller said that the fight against this threatening infectious disease must not be allowed to fall behind.
Previously, scientific or medical personnel were often withdrawn to treat people who had contracted Corona. In addition, it was often difficult to deliver malaria medicine and mosquito nets to the Third World. The supply chains broke down again and again, and the small and large patients infected with malaria largely died.
Third World – A child dies of malaria every 120 seconds
According to the German government, Germany provided more than 140 million euros in additional funding for the fight against infectious diseases such as malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis alone. Furthermore, a WHO project is planned to succeed in making 25 nations malaria-free in the following four years.
Current figures from Asian countries already speak for themselves. On the continent, for example, the infection rate has already fallen by up to 60 percent. Initial successes in this regard have also been reported from Africa. According to the study, around 15 percent fewer people were infected with the infectious disease malaria.
It is to be hoped that the research will be continued in a targeted manner and that it will be possible in the short term to build on the hope-giving results achieved to date.
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