Cost May Inject “Reality Check” Into Celebration Over New Malaria Vaccine
Source Newsroom: Cornell University
Laura Harrington, professor of entomology at Cornell University and an expert in global health and epidemiology, says a promising new malaria vaccine being tested by GlaxoSmithKline is a step in the right direction, but more economical methods are needed.
“Despite a resurgence in the global effort to fight malaria, the war on this deadly mosquito borne infection has overwhelmed scientists, policy makers, and government officials alike. Major challenges, such as behavioral and biochemical resistance by malaria vectors, and the flood of fake antimalarial drugs in the marketplace have all taken their toll.
“Now, finally, the world’s first successful malaria vaccine is almost within reach. A malaria vaccine has long been viewed as the ‘holy grail of tropical medicine.’ Although the GlaxoSmithKline RTS vaccine doesn’t protect all immunized children - only a 46 percent reduction in malaria incidence for children 5 to 17 months, and 27 percent for those 6 to 12 weeks of age - it is better than no vaccine, and it could be used together with other strategies such as vector control to reduce malaria illness and mortality.
“Malaria is a disease of poverty; therefore, the reality check will come once we know the cost of the new vaccine. In order for any malaria control effort to work it must be affordable to people who make a few dollars a day.”
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