Vaccine to Control Malaria
Things look bright for those suffering from malaria after ongoing experiments showed significant success in trials of a new malaria vaccine.
RTS, S, in its final stage of experimentation, showed that three doses of the vaccine reduced the risk of suffering from clinical malaria by 56% and from severe malaria by 47%. It is by far the first most effective vaccine ever developed.
Malaria affects almost 250 million people each year, especially in tropical regions of Africa and Asia. The trials conducted on 6,000 children between the ages of five and 17 months, from seven sub-Saharan African countries, show that a vaccine for malaria could become a reality soon.
The vaccine has been developed by Glaxo Smith Kline in collaboration with Path Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) and is called Mosquirix or RTS, S.
Looking at the current results and rate of success, experts say that the vaccine will not be good enough to wipe out the disease. It will, however, be able to control the incidences of malaria, bringing the number of cases down significantly. To be able to eliminate the disease on the whole the vaccine needs to have a 90% to 100% success rate.
In order to make the vaccine more effective, scientists have taken to dissecting mosquitoes with their hands and squeeze out their salivary glands to extract an early form of the malaria parasite called soprozoites.
These soprozoites help immunize the body against malaria by going to the infected body's liver and helping the liver to recognize an invasion and fight it.
In order to produce an effective dose of the vaccine, 10,000 sprozoites are needed with can be obtained from one mosquito if squeezed properly. The next challenge would be to find a way to do it in a safer manner and also more efficient way of to producing the vaccine on a larger scale.
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