Expatica news

Spaniard discovers ‘crucial’ malaria vaccine

15 October 2004

BARCELONA – A Spanish professor has developed a vaccine against malaria which could save millions of children, it was reported Friday.

Professor Pedro Alonso led an international study financed by Microsoft boss Bill Gates and the drugs firm Glaxo which is still undergoing tests.

The vaccine has been tested on children aged between one and four in Mozambique where malaria is widespread.

Malaria kills a million people every year.

Seventy-five percent of those who die are children under the age of five.

The risk of developing the worst strains of malaria were cut by 58 percent by the new vaccine.

Alonso, who is based at the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona. said the new vaccine is “efficient and secure”.

“It’s difficult to imagine that we will have in the near future a magic bullet that by itself can sort out the problem of malaria,” he said.

“Just like any other malaria control tool that we have, like insecticide treated nets… none of them is 100 percent effective.

“Control will rely on using a combination of malaria control tools together.

“We believe a malaria vaccine, even of moderate efficacy, could make a huge impact.”

Marie Paule Kieny, director general of the World Health Organisation, said: “The results indicate that it could be possible to develop an efficient vaccine that could potentially save the lives of millions of children.”

The research programme has been jointly funded by Gates, Glaxo and the governments of the U.S., Spain and Mozambique.

It will not be possible to bring the vaccine into general use until 2009.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news