Friday, 24 April 2015

The Wind of Change for Malaria?


News that there is now a vaccine for the mosquito bite-transmitted disease of malaria which can offer partial protection to young children (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/24/malaria-vaccine-breakthrough-partially-effective-scientists-children). The jabs offer limited protection (>30%) but maximal efficiency involves a) children receiving treatment at an age (5-17 months) which is later than when they receive other routine vaccinations, b) a series of 3 injections and c) a later booster dose. These factors will make it difficult to run an effective treatment campaign in some parts of the world (getting people in place for repeated injections and even refrigerating the vaccine can be challenging). It was noted that this 'partially effective vaccine' has taken 20 years to develop at a cost of around £330m. This might seem a lot for partial effectiveness but considerably more has been spent on developing treatments for male baldness over the same period! Malaria kills many young children each year.

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