A new ‘candidate vaccine’ Mosquirix could be given to children in Sub-Saharan African countries within the next five years.

The vaccine is known as “RTS,S” has been given to 15,000 children in 11 different research centers in seven difference countries. The vaccine has been reported to have appreciable “safety, tolerance and efficacy level,” according to Professor Daniel Ansong, School of Medical Sciences, Department of Children, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

The vaccine has received positive scientific remarks from the European Medicines Agency and will soon be put into the field once the World Health Organization’s recommended reviews and follow-ups have happened.

The vaccine is showing greater efficacy when compared to intervention strategies such as the use of bed-nets and indoor residual spraying. Prof Ansong did remark it is no “bullet magic” to malaria, but it has a potential to have a positive impact on Malaria infections in the region. Dr Gordon Awandare, Head of Department, Biochemistry, University of Ghana, stressed the need of the populace to continue the practice of using insecticide bed-nets and indoor residual spraying ahead of the introduction of the vaccine.

The potential health impact of preventing millions of clinical cases of Malaria is making the vaccine worthy of consideration.

According to Prof Anson for every 1,000 vaccinated children between ages five and 17, 1,700 clinical cases would be prevented. For every 1,000 vaccinated of six to 12 weeks, 980 cases of the disease would be prevented.

RTS,S aims to trigger the immune system of the body to destroy the invading pathogen before it can cause infection symptoms.  The infection comes from the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite which invades the human host’s bloodstream and liver cells. The vaccine allows the immune system to prevent the parasite from infecting, maturing and multiplying in the liver, after which time the parasite would re-enter the bloodstream and infect red-blood cells, leading to disease symptoms.

Malaria falls under the umbrella of neglected tropical diseases, a research aim of the Institute of Immunology and Informatics. Dr. Anne De Groot’s current focus is the development of bioinformatics tools for the identification of potential vaccine candidates, click here to learn more. Dr. Alan Rothman’s research focuses on Dengue Fever, click here to learn more.

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