Researchers developing single-dose malaria vaccine
"This is truly a proud day for African science and African scientists. Our team is hopeful that the compound will emerge from rigorous testing as an extremely effective medicine for malaria," Professor Kelly Chibale said, according to SABC.co.za.
The new vaccine, which stems from a research collaboration between the university's Drug Discovery and Development Centre and the Medicines for Malaria Venture in Switzerland, could block the transmission of the parasite from person to person, SABC.co.za reports.
Currently, 24 percent of child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are attributable to malaria, which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Children and pregnant women are considered to be most susceptible to the disease.
"This is a significant victory in the battle to alleviate the burden of disease in the subcontinent, Naledi Pandor, the South African Minister of Science and Technology, said, SABC.co.za reports. "Clearly the war on this disease is not yet won, but I am excited by the role that our excellent scientists have played in this milestone in finding a potential cure for malaria and possibly preventing its transmission."
The vaccine has already shown effectiveness in animals infected with malaria, curing them with only one dose. Several years are still required, however, before the vaccine could be cleared to be put on shelves.