A new malaria vaccine may be the answer to high mortality rates in Africa. Three countries have rolled out the vaccine, and they are testing the only licensed version in the world. The World Health Organization approved Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya because they have proven drive towards its elimination.
GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical company, developed RTS,S. They have spent 30 years and one billion dollars on the drug. The European Medicines Agency approved of the vaccine after they found the benefits outweighed the risks.
Finally, these countries are able to test the vaccine on their citizens, and there have already been positive results. “There were 29% fewer cases of severe malaria” in those who received the vaccine, according to WHO.
Due to the positive results, RTS,S is becoming more of a contender in the fight against the disease. In addition to the vaccine, WHO recommends spraying rooms with insecticides and closely monitoring patients with symptoms. They also suggest taking medications proven to work against it.
Researchers are also exploring other methods to eliminate malaria. Another options is “genetically modified mosquitos with an infertility gene,” states the Associated Press.
In 2016, malaria killed 445,000 people, according to the Center for Disease Control. Children under the age of five suffer from the disease the most. Hosts contract the illness after bites from mosquitos. As a result, parasites enter the patient’s liver and red blood cells. This vaccine could potentially change the spread of malaria in third world countries.
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