Friday, 23 September 2011

Malaria - a glimmer of hope?

Some hopeful signs from a new anti-malaria vaccine.    Preliminary trials had begun in Burkina Faso to test its safety, but it soon became clear that children who had been given the injection were getting a high degree of protection.

The results are described as ‘most encouraging’, and a bigger trial is about to start in Mali.  About 100 different vaccines have been tried against the disease, and this one, developed by the Pasteur Institute in Paris, is only the second to have shown promise.

The Burkina Faso study involved only 45 children, but the incidence of malaria was three or four time lower among those who were given the vaccine.    Eight hundred children will be enrolled in the new trial in Mali.

Malaria still kills around 1 million people a year, 90 per cent of them in Africa, and most of these are young children.  (See also my blogs of 11 April, 30 May, 24 Sept and 21 Oct, 2009.)