The first Malaria vaccine and its potential
Malaria is a deadly disease that takes the lives of more than 500,000 people a year and is responsible for more than 229 million clinical cases globally. The development of a malaria vaccine has been a task that needed to be solved. Many vaccine candidates have been developed, from the use of the entire attenuated and irradiated pre-erythrocytic parasite forms to synthetic candidates formulated in a variety of adjuvants and delivery systems, however these have unfortunately proven a limited efficacy. Malaria is most common in Sub Saharan Africa.
The World Health Organization recently endorsed the first malaria vaccine. The vaccine is not just a first for malaria — it is the first developed for any parasitic disease. The RTS,S malaria vaccine is the result of 30 years of research and development by GSK and through a partnership with PATH, with support from a network of African research centers. In clinical trials, the vaccine had an efficacy of about 50 percent against severe malaria in the first year, but the figure dropped close to zero by the fourth year. The vaccine is set to be given in four doses, the first three given monthly and the last dose two years later to boost immunity against repeat infections. Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.