In a significant breakthrough in malaria control, a five-year landmark study has yielded promising results by combining a malaria vaccine with antimalarial drugs.
A Promising Vaccine-Drug Combination | Malaria Control Breakthrough (Thursday, September 07, 2023)
This innovative approach has shown substantial reductions in life-threatening malaria cases and deaths, particularly among young children, highlighting the potential to revolutionize malaria prevention.
Protecting Young Lives: Seasonal Vaccination’s Impact
The study's final results, published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, demonstrate the effectiveness of combining the world's first malaria vaccine, RTS, S/AS01E (RTS, S), with antimalarial drugs in regions characterized by highly seasonal malaria transmission. This groundbreaking approach has led to a remarkable reduction in clinical malaria episodes, including severe cases and fatalities, in young children.
Key Study Details
Coordinated by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in collaboration with partners from Burkina Faso and Mali, the study followed over 5,000 children for five years. These findings build upon previous research published in 2021, which prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend the RTS, S vaccine’s use in areas with moderate-to-high malaria transmission.
High Protection Rates and Future Challenges In Malaria Vaccine Use
Children who received the RTS, S-drug combination, and used bed nets achieved over 90% protection against malaria episodes, emphasizing the importance of multiple prevention tools. The study’s participants are now being followed for an additional two years to determine the duration of protection and its impact on naturally acquired immunity.
Potential for Broader Implementation
While seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) is currently limited to children under five years old in many countries, these results may expand its use. The study suggests that the RTS, S-SMC combination is highly effective, reducing hospital admissions, malarial anemia, blood transfusions, and malaria deaths significantly. WHO runs a malaria vaccine implementation program for the same.
Immediate Action Needed For Malaria Vaccine
Prof. Alassane Dicko, the Managing Director of the Malaria Research and Training Center and a member of the research team, stresses the urgency of rapidly implementing this new tool to alleviate the burden of malaria in affected countries. As nearly half of childhood malaria deaths occur in highly seasonal transmission areas, this innovative approach holds immense potential for saving young lives.
Looking Forward: Potential Solutions for Drug Resistance
The study also raises the possibility of using seasonal vaccination with RTS,S if resistance to current antimalarial drugs increases. This adaptive strategy could ensure continued effectiveness in malaria prevention.
A Glimpse into the Future
These findings offer hope in the battle against malaria, showcasing how strategically combining vaccines with other interventions can make a substantial difference. Mary Hamel, senior technical officer at the WHO Product Development Research Unit, emphasizes the potential to save countless young lives through such integrated approaches.
10 Common Doubts about Malaria and Malaria Vaccine:
- What is Malaria?
- Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by parasites of plasmodium species.
- How is Malaria transmitted?
- Malaria is transmitted from human to human by the bite of a female anopheles mosquito.
- What are the common symptoms of Malaria?
- Typical symptoms include fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, and fatigue.
- Is Malaria a global health concern?
- Yes, Malaria remains a significant global health problem, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Can Malaria be prevented?
- Yes, Malaria can be prevented through measures such as bed nets, insect repellent, and antimalarial medications.
- How is Malaria diagnosed?
- Malaria is diagnosed by examining a blood sample under a microscope or using rapid diagnostic tests.
- Is there a vaccine for Malaria?
- Yes, there is a malaria vaccine called “RTS, S/AS01” that provides partial protection, but it is not yet widely available.
- What is the treatment for Malaria?
- Malaria is treated with antimalarial medications prescribed by a healthcare provider.
- Can Malaria be fatal?
- Yes, Malaria can be fatal, especially if left untreated or if the infected person has a weakened immune system.
- Is Malaria a curable disease?
- Yes, Malaria is curable with prompt and effective treatment using appropriate antimalarial drugs
- Can you get Malaria from person-to-person contact?
- No, Malaria is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes and is not directly contagious from person to person.
- What is the most effective way to prevent Malaria in endemic areas?
- The most effective prevention method is the use of insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying to reduce mosquito exposure.
- Are there different types of Plasmodium parasites causing Malaria?
- Yes, there are several species of Plasmodium parasites, with P. falciparum being the most deadly and responsible for most Malaria-related deaths.
- Can Malaria be found in non-tropical regions?
- While Malaria is most prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions, it can also occur in temperate climates during certain seasons.
- Is it safe to travel to Malaria-endemic regions, and what precautions should travelers take?
- Travelers to Malaria-endemic areas should consult a healthcare provider for appropriate antimalarial medication and follow mosquito bite prevention measures to reduce the risk of infection.
This is a highly researched article by our team, The website’s content disclaimer policy is here.
Is there any vaccine for malaria?
The first approved vaccine is RTS, S. Its Brand name is Mosquirix.
Which Malaria vaccine is recently approved?
The R 21/ Matrix-M is recently approved and supplied to the African countries.
What is the best Malaria vaccine?
Who recommends the RTS, S/ AS01 (RTS,S) Malaria vaccine to prevent Malaria risk in children. It is being used in a pilot program in Ghana Kenya and Malavi.
Is the Malaria vaccine one hundred percent effective?
No. It is effective up to 80% after 3 initial dosages and one booster after a year.
At what age is Malaria vaccine given?
Malaria vaccine can be given after 5 months of age.