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Mosquirix World's First Malaria Vaccine

Mosquirix World's First Malaria Vaccine

GlaxoSmithKline has developed a malaria vaccine. GlaxoSmithKline’s CEO stated: “Today’s scientific opinion represents a further important step towards making available for young children the world's first malaria vaccine.”

Malaria vaccine

Mosquirix World's First Malaria Vaccine

Target 6C on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is to have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.  The multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline malaria vaccine, Mosquirix™ receives a positive opinion from European regulators for the prevention of malaria in young children in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Mosquirix™ RTS,S has been designed to prevent malaria caused by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite. There are four types of human malaria: Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium falciparum. Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum are the most common forms. Plasmodium Falciparum malaria is the most deadly type and the most common in sub-Saharan Africa, where it causes nearly a million deaths a year. 

The ball is now in the World Health's Organization’s court to assess how the world’s first malaria candidate vaccine might be used alongside other tools such as mosquito netting to prevent malaria. Early trials show the drug is effective on in children aged 6 weeks to 17 months; however, until final approval mosquito netting is still the most effective tool against malaria.

Female Anopheles mosquito
Female Anopheles mosquito

What is malaria? 

Malaria is caused by a one-celled parasite called Plasmodium and female Anopheles mosquitoes can only transmit malaria. The adult females can live up to 7-28 days in nature. Once a mosquito ingests the Plasmodium parasite it undergoes development and an incubation period from 10 to 21 days. 

The mosquito must have been infected through a previous blood meal from an infected person.  Female mosquitoes take blood in order to carry out egg production. When a mosquito bites an infected person, a small amount of blood is taken in which may contain malaria parasites. About one week later, when the mosquito takes its next blood meal, these parasites mix with the mosquito's saliva and are injected into the person being bitten. Malaria parasites multiply rapidly in the liver and then in red blood cells of the infected person. 

Unfortunately, 90% of all malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and 77% occur in children under five. According to GlaxoSmithKline data from this trial program demonstrate that over the first 18 months following three doses of RTS,S, malaria cases were reduced by almost half in children aged 5-17 months at the time of first vaccination and by 27% in infants aged 6-12 weeks. At study end, four doses of RTS,S reduced malaria cases by 39% over four years of follow-up in children, and by 27% over three years of follow-up in infants. 

Until final approval of the malaria vaccine, mosquito netting is still the most effective tool against malaria.
Until final approval of the malaria vaccine, 
mosquito netting is still the most 
effective tool against malaria. 

GlaxoSmithKline has developed the Plasmodium vivax malaria vaccine; however the Plasmodium falciparum malaria is the most deadly type and the most common in sub-Saharan Africa where it causes nearly a million deaths a year. 

The company has worked on the Mosquirix™ RTS,S  vaccine for over 30 years and the vaccine will save many lives. By 2050 Africa will house over 1/4 of the world’s population, disease prevention is a priority. 

About 40% of malaria deaths occur in just two countries: Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to the large population size of both countries.

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