New Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise in Kenya

The NEF is excited to announce breakthroughs in scientific discoveries in Africa. A recent article highlighted that a new malaria vaccine shows promise in Kenya. The RTS vaccine prevents the malaria parasite from infecting, maturing and multiplying in the liver, from which it typically re-enters the blood and infects red blood cells.

“We saw a very good success of the vaccine resulting in health improvements in these children. They were just not sick as their counterparts in the community who were not vaccinated. The overall vaccine efficacy in the older age group for all the sites was 47 percent and in the younger age it was 27 percent,” Dr. Martina Oneko explained.

Malaria kills more than 500,000 people a year worldwide, and causes illness in millions more, most of them children living in sub-Saharan Africa. A third of all patients in Kenya’s third-largest city, Kisumu, and its environs suffer from malaria.

Although existing interventions have helped to reduce the disease over the past decade, scientists in this lab in western Kenya are working on a vaccine — with the help of Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline and other partners — that could add an important component to malaria control.

Scientist say vaccinating people, especially young children, is the key to eradicating the disease.”