Sunday, October 23, 2011

News Brief: Vaccine Provides Partial Protection Against Malaria, study shows

Prachi Sharma

Researchers recently announced a breakthrough in preventative medicine with the development of the first malaria vaccine. Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease primarily prevalent in Africa, Southeast Asia and Brazil, infects approximately 225 million people each year and of those, kills 781 thousand people. Once infected, parasites enter the bloodstream and infect red blood cells, causing anemia, among other serious side effects. The vaccine, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and developed from a combined effort by scientists from PATH and GlaxoSmithKline, vastly reduced the risk of severe cases of malaria in 5 to 17-month olds by 47 percent, in a series of trials conducted in countries across northern Africa. The trials also revealed that the vaccine reduced risk of less serious cases by 56 percent. The vaccine, however, is still in its preliminary stages and scientists stress that much more research must be conducted to determine the vaccine's long-term effectiveness. Thus, the vaccine will not be widely distributed and available prior to 2015.

Reference: Lazar, Kay. "Vaccine Provides Partial Protection Against Malaria, Study Shows." . Web.
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