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New Vaccine Brings Hope to Africa's Battle with Malaria

11/05/2009 16:50

Syringe with needle on blue background - shot. 2879059 Vector Art at  Vecteezy

Each year 350–500 million cases of malaria occur worldwide, and over one million people die, most of them young children in sub-Saharan Africa. For years parents and families have hoped for a cure, or an easy way to prevent the disease; the good news? there is hope on the horizon. A vaccine that appears to be able to prevent the disease in about 50 percent of children, is now undergoing the final stage of testing. If regulators determine the vaccine is safe, it could be on the market in three to five years — the first vaccine against a human parasite. 

More than 1 million children die of the disease in Africa annually, a crippling economic drain that prolongs a cycle of disease and poverty throughout the continent. This vaccine was developed specifically for Africa, however, and will only prevent the African strain of the disease. Experts say it would be a historic advancement. "Some may say, '50 percent, that's not great.' And that's true. If you get a measles vaccine, you're not going to get measles again," said Dr. Dave Jones, a U.S. Army colonel and director of a clinic in nearby Kombewa operated by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the Kenya Medical Research Institute. "But at the same time, when you consider we lose 1 million kids a year, if you could cut that in half it would be a great step forward."

Experts from around the globe are meeting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, this week as part of the fifth pan-African malaria conference, and a news conference on the vaccine trial is scheduled for Tuesday. Find out more about this revolutionary vaccine by Clicking Here. To find more articles on Africa and its culture Click Here. To find African artwork and handicrafts to help support artisans in Africa just visit the Africa Imports web site.