This is interesting, seeing as I JUST watched a documentary yesterday, in class, on global epidemics. I learnt that the first, largely, successful antimalarial drug was developed in China. It was called Artemisinin, and was a plant derivative. However, due to Cold War politics, China refused to release any information to the rest of the world, thus delaying further developments in malarial drugs by about twenty-years.
It really surprised me how deeply entrenched in politics, something as simple and necessary as health care, is. Health agendas and policies are just governed by bureaucracies, who know little-to-nothing about what people actually want or need.
Anyway, that’s a little off topic in terms of the malaria vaccine. Perhaps I’ll save my politics in health rant for another post.
But hopefully this vaccine turns out to be successful. It’s unfortunate, but Malaria’s just one of those epidemics that’s experienced failure after failure in terms of finding a vaccine or cure. As a result, it’s been pushed in to the shadows. Without the media hype, it’s been largely forgotten about, despite the hundreds of thousands of people dying from it every year.
The introduction of the world’s first malaria vaccine could be less than two years away following significant results from an ongoing trial.
British healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is seeking approval for the breakthrough medication after the trial vaccine dramatically reduced the number of cases in African children.
Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, is a significant public health burden, claiming 660,000 lives a year – mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa.
GSK says its study of more than 15,000 infants and young children found the vaccine reduced by around a quarter the malaria cases in infants aged six to 12 weeks at first vaccination.
It also showed the most clinically advanced malaria vaccine candidate – RTS,S – continued to protect young children from clinical malaria up to 18 months after vaccination.
And over a year-and-a-half, the vaccine was shown to almost halve the number of malaria cases in children aged five to 17 months…
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