By Oladapo Okeowo
An effective vaccine that provides 100 percent protection from malaria has been discovered.
This discovery was made by researchers at the University of Tübingen, working alongside the biotech firm Sanaria Incorporated.
The vaccine’s efficacy was demonstrated in two controlled clinical trials published in the Nature and The Lancet Infectious Diseases journals.
The vaccine- Sanaria® PfSPZ-CVac- proved to be extremely efficacious and sustained effectiveness even when assessed 10 weeks after the last dose was given. It is composed of live, attenuated, and purified malaria sporozoites and the antimalarial drug chloroquine.
For the trial, the researchers, Professor Peter Kremsner and Dr Benjamin Mordmüller of the Institute of Tropical Medicine and the German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF) used malaria parasites provided by Sanaria.
The study involved 67 healthy adult test persons, none of whom had previously had malaria. The best immune response was shown in a group of nine test persons who received the highest dose of the vaccine three times at four-week intervals. At the end of the trial, all nine of these individuals had 100 percent protection from the disease.
In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Professor Kremsner said they are optimistic and plan “to have it ready for licensing in two years.”
This discovery bodes well for the world and a lot of developing nations, Nigeria included. These countries, yearly, lose money and lives to the disease. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), malaria killed 429,000 and infected 212 million people in 2015. The bulk of these deaths and infection happened in Africa.
It also abates, in the interim, the fears generated by the rise of drug-resistant malaria pathogens.
For Nigeria, it would spell the end of manpower loss and a drop in malaria-induced deaths. The government can now divert funds which would usually go into malaria research towards the draining of swamps and other mosquito-breeding grounds.
There is also the possibility of a positive impact on the life expectancy index of the nation which at 45 years, is relatively low.