Expiremental malaria vaccine enters late stage testing

Mosquirix, an experimental malaria vaccine made by the British biopharmaceutical company Glaxosmithkline, is undergoing late stage testing, with results expected by 2011.

If proven effective, GSK will seek approval for Mosquirix's use in 2012, iol.co.za reports.

There are about 250 million malaria cases and approximately a million malaria deaths each year around the world. The World Health Organization’s statistics show that half of the world’s population - about 3.3 billion people - are at risk of contracting the disease. Many of these are people living in world’s poorest areas and are vulnerable.

The editors of the British medical journal The Lancet wrote that they found it critical that countries not set their sights on malaria elimination without a careful examination of the risks, according to iol.co.za.

“The quest for elimination must not distract existing good malaria control work,” the editors wrote, as reported by iol.co.za. “If existing control efforts were indeed scaled up, by 2015, 1.14 million children's lives could be saved in sub-Saharan Africa alone.”

A series of studies in the journal showed that, at least for many countries, eradication would be a process that could many decades and be fraught with difficulty. Repeated investment over a long time is a necessity.

“Successful elimination will need a fundamental shift in the perception of malaria investment from a so-called quick win to a routine expenditure,” Oliver Sabot, of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, said, iol.co.za reports.