Vac­cine hope

While Africa gets its first vac­cine to fight malaria, In­dia is still in the early stages of clin­i­cal tri­als

Down to Earth - - FLOOD - KUN­DAN PANDEY |

ON JULY 24 this year, Africa got its first vac­cine to fight malaria. The Euro­pean Medicines Agency’s Com­mit­tee for Medic­i­nal Prod­ucts for Hu­man Use ap­proved the com­mer­cial use of Mosquirix in the con­ti­nent,which ac­counts for 90 per cent of global malaria deaths. While the pre­ven­tive vac­cine is a mile­stone in Africa’s fight against the killer dis­ease, it hardly paints a hope­ful pic­ture for In­dia.Mosquirix is ef­fec­tive against only one species of the malaria pathogen and hence will not be ef­fec­tive in In­dia where malaria is caused by mul­ti­ple species. In­dia’s vac­cine de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes are only in the early stages of ex­per­i­ment, rang­ing from ba­sic re­search aimed at iden­ti­fy­ing po­ten­tial tar­gets to con­duct­ing Phase I clin­i­cal tri­als. So the coun­try has a long way to go be­fore it can cre­ate a suc­cess­ful malaria vac­cine.

Mosquirix it­self took al­most 30 years of re­search be­fore it could be ad­min­is­tered to hu­mans. Glax­oSmithK­line (gsk), a Bri­tish phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany,be­gan work on the vac­cine in 1987. The sub­se­quent years were de­voted to clin­i­cal tri­als,in­volv­ing more than 16,000 chil­dren from Burk­ina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozam­bique and Tan­za­nia.

Dur­ing the first 18 months of the trial, three doses of the vac­cine were ad­min­is­tered to the chil­dren.In its re­port,sub­mit­ted to the Euro­pean drug reg­u­la­tor,gsk claims that malaria cases were re­duced by al­most half in chil­dren aged five to 17 months and by 27 per cent in in­fants aged six to 12 weeks.The vac­cine was eval­u­ated in ad­di­tion to ex­ist­ing malaria con­trol mea­sures, such as in­sec­ti­cide­treated mos­quito nets, which were used by ap­prox­i­mately 80 per cent of the pa­tients.

Mosquirix is the world’s first li­censed vac­cine against a par­a­sitic dis­ease of any kind. It has been de­signed to pre­vent malaria in chil­dren caused by the par­a­site, Plas­mod­ium fal­ci­parum ( P fal­ci­parum). While five types

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.