Ghana, Kenya and Malawi to pilot GSK malaria vaccine from 2018: WHO

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Ghana, Kenya and Malawi will pilot the world’s first malaria vaccine from 2018, offering it for babies and children in high-risk areas as part of real-life trials, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday.
The injectable vaccine, called RTS,S or Mosquirix, was developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline to protect children from the most deadly form of malaria in Africa. In clinical trials it proved only partially effective, and it needs to be given in a four-dose schedule, but is the first regulator-approved vaccine against the mosquito-borne disease. The WHO, which is in the process of assessing whether to add the shot to core package of WHO-recommended measures for malaria prevention, has said it first wants to see the results of on-the-ground testing in a pilot programme.
“Information gathered in the pilot will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine,” Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s African regional director, said in a statement as the three pilot countries were announced. “Combined with existing malaria interventions, such a vaccine would have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives in Africa.” Malaria kills around 430,000 people a year, the vast majority of them babies and young children in sub-Saharan Africa. Global efforts in the last 15 years cut the malaria death toll by 62% between 2000 and 2015.
The WHO pilot programme will assess whether the Mosquirix’s protective effect in children aged 5 to 17 months can be replicated in real-life. It will also assess the feasibility of delivering the four doses needed, and explore the vaccine’s potential role in reducing the number of children killed by the disease. The WHO said Malawi, Kenya and Ghana were chosen for the pilot due to several factors, including having high rates of malaria as well as good malaria programmes, wide use of bed-nets, and well-functioning immunisation programmes.
Each of the three countries will decide on the districts and regions to be included in the pilots, the WHO said, with high malaria areas getting priority since these are where experts expect to see most benefit from the use of the vaccine. RTS,S was developed by GSK in partnership with the non-profit PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and part-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The WHO said in November it had secured full funding for the first phase of the RTS,S pilots, with $15 million from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and up to $27.5 million and $9.6 million respectively from the GAVI Vaccine Alliance and UNITAID for the first four years of the programme.Meanwhile Malaria is one of those diseases that start out as something minor. You’re going to have temperature fluctuations and mild headaches, and probably dismiss the discomfort for exhaustion due to heat or just a viral.
Since the symptoms of the disease are very similar initially to that of a viral, malaria is very often and very easily brushed under the carpet. In reality, however, malaria comes with bone-breaking fever and a lot more, and takes a few weeks to recover from.
For those of you who still don’t know what exactly malaria is, here’s a little brief: It’s a life-threatening disease that is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Infected mosquitoes carry something called a Plasmodium parasite. When this mosquito bites you, the parasite is released into your bloodstream, from where it travels to the liver, where it matures. Which is why, it takes about 48 to 72 hours for the symptoms to show in case you’ve been bitten.So, if you’ve been facing any of these following symptoms, know that you need to see the doctor right now. Malaria cannot and should not be treated at home without consulting a doctor.f left untreated, malaria can prove to be life-threatening, or lead to irreversible complications like brain damage and organ failure. So, if you spot the symptoms, don’t delay seeing a general physician.Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a 20 cent cardboard centrifuge that can help spot malarial parasites in the blood. The low-cost tool can make a big difference in detecting malaria in the poorest parts of the world. Researchers, including Manu Prakash from Stanford University in the US, built a mathematical model of how a centrifuge worked.
A centrifuge is a medical tool used to separate liquids such as blood being used.
Researchers were inspired by toys such as a yoyo and whirly gig that is made using a spherical object suspended on threads which are then pulled to make it spin. The team created a computer simulation to capture design variables such as disc size, string elasticity and pulling force, ‘BBC News’ reported.
They borrowed equations from the physics of super-coiling DNA strands, and eventually created a prototype that spun at up to 125,000 revolutions per minute.
Researchers then used the device to spin blood in a capillary coated with orange dye for 15 minutes. nThis separated malarial parasites from red blood cells, enabling them to be spotted under a microscope.

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