ALMA calls for increase in malaria fight

Members of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance met recently to discuss the continent’s malaria priorities.

Madike Seye, GlaxoSmithKline’s vice-president for Africa, recently wrote a guest article in the Ugandan newspaper, The Independent, lauding ALMA’s members for their vision.

Seye credited ALMA with using every tool the international community has available to fight the disease, including indoor residual spraying, bed nets and top quality medication. He pointed towards a potential vaccine as the next step.

“Several years ago, when I started working in pharmaceuticals, a malaria vaccine was only a distant dream,” Seye wrote in the Independent. “But today, the leading malaria vaccine candidate is in Phase III trials in seven countries across Africa. RTS,S, as the vaccine candidate is known, is the result of years of collaboration.”

There have been 10,000 infants and children enrolled in vaccine trials in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The results have yielded an adequate safety profile, and the vaccine has the potential to reduce the risk of malaria by half, according to Seye.

“If all goes well, general implementation of RTS,S for infants would be possible within five years or so,” Seye wrote in the Independent. “With a malaria vaccine candidate on the horizon, now is the time to prepare for its introduction as five years can go by quickly.”

Seye concluded by calling for countries, multilaterals, NGOs, the pharmaceutical industry, ALMA and scientists to work together so the lives of children can be saved.