Barcelona hospital unveils malaria vaccine launch
14 December 2007
MADRID – A malaria vaccine developed in Spain will start being administered to children in Africa next year, increasing the chances that one of the world’s deadliest diseases can be brought under control, Pedro Alonso, a researcher at Barcelona’s Clinic Hospital, announced Thursday.
Alonso, who led the team that developed the vaccine, said that initially it will be administered to 16,000 children under five in Ghana, Gabon, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania.
“We are developing a way to control this illness,” Alonso told reporters. “This is the first generation of vaccines that can be used on a large scale.”
The vaccine, known as RTS,S, has successfully undergone clinical trials in Mozambique where it was found to prevent malaria in 65 percent of infant children. Most of the 16,000 recipients of the vaccine, which will be administered in cooperation with the European Medicines Agency, will be aged between two and three months.
Children make up 90 percent of the victims of malaria. The mosquito-borne disease kills up to three million people each year. Alonso noted, however, that his vaccine is not a panacea. “We will probably have to wait 20 or 30 years until we have a vaccine that protects in more than 90 percent of cases,” he said.
[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL. 2007]
Subject: Spanish news