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The Latest Edition of "Eyes on malaria" magazine will be out very soon!! | CALL FOR ARTICLES: AMMREN is inviting journalists / writers / scientists interested in reporting on malaria to send articles for publication in its international magazine “Eyes on Malaria” and for posting on its website. Please contact the AMMREN Secretariat for more details click here. Enjoy your stay!. Volunteers and interns urgently needed to work with an NGO working in the area of malaria and health. Apply through - ammren1@gmail.com / ammren1@yahoo.com. Journalists interested in reporting on and writing articles on health issues should please reply through this email: ammren1@gmail.com

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TIPS ON MALARIA

  • HOW CAN MOSQUITOES BE CONTROLLED?

    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.

  • HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM MOSQUITO-BORN DISEASES?

    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.

  • WHO ARE AT RISK?


    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.
     

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The journey from conception to birth

The main objective of the RTS,S vaccine research in Africa was to make sure that when a malaria vaccine becomes licensed, it is readily available to those who need it, as quickly as possible.

This is where the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health/Malaria vaccine Initiative (PATH/MVI) comes in.

There was a big issue of how to create the environment and get the right mix of people, structures, funds and all the other necessary things to ensure that the RTS,S  candidate vaccine safely moves from its conception and incubation in the laboratory to its final destination in the community.

It was no longer a matter of creative and innovative ideas but coordinating a large scale trial with just one common goal: To get a malaria vaccine for children in Africa.

 

“Such an enterprise requires patience, passion and resilience” said Dr Christian Loucq, Director of the PATH/ MVI, in an interview with AMMREN.

MVI is the non-profit organization that brought financial and technical expertise to the partnership with GSK, the inventors of the vaccine, to ensure that the sites had the capacity required to conduct the trials into the RTS,S  vaccine at the highest standards of safety and quality. 

“Coordination among the trial sites, MVI and GSK is astonishingly complex. In fact, it is the largest malaria vaccine trial of its kind ever undertaken in Africa. This project is moving forward because the many people working on it share the same goal: develop an effective vaccine to combat this killer.”

Giving some background on the project, Dr Loucq says following promising results observed in adults in the US and in The Gambia, GSK and MVI entered into an initial collaborative agreement in 2001, which led to the first positive results of the vaccine in children aged one to four years in Mozambique.

The PATH/MVI boss said the ‘Proof of Concept’ trial was led by Professor Pedro Alonso and his team in Mozambique and MVI received $182 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct the necessary clinical trials that would bring the vaccine to its current final phase three, as required by regulatory authorities and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The phase three is the last step before the experimental vaccine can be submitted to regulatory authorities for review and approval and then ultimately given to children as part of the Expanded Programme on Immunization.

The journey to date has however not been easy as it has been fraught with challenges and contentions as to whether the research could be carried through.

“The main bone of contention among some in the scientific community was the capacity of African scientists and African centers to conduct high level research in the field at this scale,” Dr Loucq explained.

“The RTS,S phase 3 trials that is now underway provides ample evidence that indeed it is possible. The scientists, provided with support to help build the required capacity, are demonstrating that such a critical vaccine trial can be conducted to the highest standards in Africa,” he adds.

Dr Loucq is not only upbeat about the success of the trials but is looking forward to its deployment in the communities, as the end of the journey gets in sight.

“We have never been so close to getting a malaria vaccine that will help save hundreds of thousands of children’s lives in Africa.” 

He said GSK is committed to making available the required quantities of the vaccine.

“GSK has made the necessary investment. A year ago, GSK’s publicly committed to make the vaccine available at the cost of manufacture plus five percent. Sharing cost and risk is an important driver of a public- private partnership. Both partners are committed to making the vaccine available and accessible to people that need it the most.”

 “It is a very exciting time for the malaria vaccine community. At the end of 2011, we will have the first results after one year of follow up in the 5 to 17 month age group.”

“Today we need to work on ensuring that the vaccine will reach the kids that need it as quickly as possible, provided of course that the phase 3 trial results are positive.

Even more encouraging, is Dr Loucq’s revelation that MVI is already working on the next generation of malaria vaccines with higher efficacy and a blocking effect on malaria transmission.

“To ensure the success of these efforts, additional funding will be required. We hope that the encouraging results to date with RTS,S will convince funders to keep on supporting our mission.”

Editions: 
Sixth Edition