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Current Affairs

Malaria vaccine candidate

Date: 04 May 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A vaccine candidate for malaria has shown promising results in phase 2b clinical trials with an efficacy rate of 77 percent.

 

 

Details

  • The new candidate is called R21/Matrix M, which has been modified from the existing RTS, S, which is already under trials in various countries.

  • The RTS, S vaccine was developed after effort by PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Walter Reed Institute of Research and GlaxoSmithKline.

  • The vaccine will prevent the malarial parasite plasmodium falciparum from entering liver and causing deadly impact. The vaccine targets protein of liver of Plasmodium falciparum.

  • RTS, S has been in development since the last 30 years and the only vaccine till date to reduce malaria in children.

  • The vaccine is not widely given across the population as its efficacy is very low. The new version is a modified version of this vaccine.

 

New version of vaccine

The R21/Matrix M is developed by scientists of Oxford University. The version of the vaccine is under development since the last 6-7 years.

 

 The trial

  • The phase 2b trials were conducted in children of Burkina Faso over e period of 12 months. The efficacy in trials was found to be about 77 percent.

  • The trial was conducted in two doses, the high dose trial (three shots) and the low dose trial, both of which showed a 77 percent efficacy.

 

Importance

  • Malaria has still been a major disease in tropical areas. Children aged under 5 in sub-Saharan countries account for about two thirds of all deaths due to malaria.

  • The pandemic has put brakes on efforts to eradicate malaria as more focus and resources are allocated to fight Covid-19.

  • Lockdown and restrictions on travel has prevented transport of insecticides and mosquito nets to affected areas, thereby threatening eradication campaign.

 

Malaria

  • Malaria is a tropical infectious disease in which parasites are transmitted in humans by vector mosquitoes.

  • The disease is caused by single celled organism called the Plasmodium that is transmitted by infected Anopheles mosquito.

  • Typical symptoms of the disease include tiredness, fever, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases, coma and deaths can also occur.