Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise in Children: Worldwide Fight Gaining Ground2 min read
A multi-year investment of $500 million USD by the Gates Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline and the U.S. government has yielded partial success in the search for a malaria vaccine. A recent report in the Wall Street Journal relays the results of a clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicating that three doses of the vaccine can cut the risk of developing malaria in half for African children ages five to seventeen months. Researchers are encouraged to see a vaccine protect against the malaria parasite, but say further work is needed to establish its true efficacy. The Gates Foundation has spent $1.75 billion so far in its quest to eradicate the disease and continues to pursue a parallel approach—a “transmission blocking” vaccine—that is believed to be the key to ultimate success.
The worldwide fight against malaria appears to be gaining ground. According to the World Health Organization, malaria killed 781,000 people in 2009, down 20% from 2000, and an analysis by the University of California, San Francisco indicates that some twenty countries are in the process of eliminating malaria (map below). For those planning to travel to subtropics, The Centers for Disease Control has published an interactive map of malaria risk that is the most detailed and useful I have seen to date.