Malaria is curable, yet every year die in Africa 250,000 children to the mosquito-borne disease. On Tuesday, a vaccination campaign, which wants to use vaccine against Malaria for the first time in large-scale starts.
In the framework of a Pilot project, first in Malawi and later also in Ghana and Kenya to 2022, in total, every year, around 360,000 small children against the dangerous disease vaccinated. “The vaccine has the potential to save the lives of tens of thousands of children,” says Mary Hamel, coordinator of the Malaria Programme at the world health organization WHO.
The disease is transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes transmitted, the stand out especially at night. Malaria causes fever, anemia and neurological problems, and if left untreated can proceed rapidly fatal. To develop a vaccine against the resistance and adaptability of parasites, is considered to be much more difficult than vaccines against viruses such as those causing measles or Ebola.
Not A Magic Wand
The GlaxoSmithKline developed the vaccine, “RTS,S” acts against the in Africa is widespread and most dangerous of the Malaria-causative agent of “Plasmodium falciparum”. For three decades, the British drugs group had been working on the vaccine.
Its protective effect is limited. In the largest clinical study with approximately 15,000 children, the vaccine prevented approximately 40 percent of the disease, and about 30 percent of the severe cases of Malaria.
For a full effectiveness small would have to get children in addition to four syringes. The first three vaccinations should take place at the age of about five to nine months, the fourth around the age of two years. Not all vaccinations to coincide with other routine vaccinations. It is therefore a challenge for the pilot, that parents bring their children indeed, to all four Impfterminen, especially in remote areas.
A combination of different measures
Study results also showed that the effect of the vaccine wears off with time – a vaccination is enough to protect children’s lives long before the danger of Malaria. In addition, the parents must be informed, in order to renounce all of a sudden on other means of Prevention such as mosquito nets.
Also with insecticide treated mosquito nets provide only partial protection, restricts Pedro Alonso, the Director of the Malaria programme of the WHO. “The fight against Malaria is one that we are using imperfect tools. The best effect we can have when we combine them,” says Alonso.
After years of progress, the number of cases worldwide has risen again recently. In 2017, the documented cases of Malaria have increased in comparison to the previous year by about two million to 219 million cases. 435.000 people died of Malaria. A good 90 percent of all diseases occurring in Africa.