Follow by Email

Friday, November 4, 2011

Malaria vaccine: Hope for better tomorrow in malaria endemic countries?

Malaria remains one of the few diseases those continue to scourge human civilization despite the significant advances in disease control strategies over the last century. Malaria is responsible for more than 500 million cases and 1–3 million deaths annually. Approximately 85% of these deaths are among children, mostly in Africa, primarily due to P. falciparum. Whole cell vaccines, irradiated sporozoites and genetically attenuated sporozoites have demonstrated long lasting, sterile protection against plasmodium infection in animal and experimental clinical studies. Atypical membrane protein 1 and merozoite surface protein 1 are the two most extensively studied asexual blood stage vaccine candidates. The most promising candidate vaccine under development is RTS, S combined with AS01 adjuvant. Initial results from phase III trials of this candidate vaccine show 50% reduction of malaria in 5–17 mo aged children during the 12 mo after vaccination. WHO anticipates that the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine will be recommended for the 6–14 week age group for co-administration together with other vaccines as part of routine immunization programs in malaria endemic countries. Malaria vaccine could play an important role in elimination and eventual eradication of malaria.