The fight against Malaria in Kenya is taking a turn for the better as the country is set to take part in Phase III malaria vaccination trials.
According to reports, Kenya has been included in the trials alongside Tanzania, Burkina Faso, and Mali. They would take part in the trial of the R21 vaccine, which has shown 77 % efficacy in beating the disease endemic to Africa.
The vaccine had undergone phase II trials in Burkina Faso, with 450 children aged five to 15 months. The trial took 12 months.
4,800 children to take part
The phase III trials in Kenya will include 4,800 children under three, with them getting four doses of the vaccine each. Results would then be out within a year from the start of the exercise.
“These are very exciting results that show unprecedented efficacy levels from a vaccine which has been tolerated well in our trial programme,” Halidou Tinto, a principal investigator of the trial, said.
The Oxford University (which developed COVID-19’s AstraZeneca vaccine) and the Serum Institute of India are the two that developed the vaccine.
The study was published in the Lancet but is yet to get peer-reviewed. A peer review would rubber-stamp its authority on the matter.
RTS not promising enough
Currently, Kenya is piloting another Malaria vaccine, the RTS, which has shown efficacy of 55.8 % in children between five and 17 months in the first year.
The WHO has recently updated its Malaria roadmap and called for Malaria vaccine candidates to have an efficacy of at least 75 %. Thus, the WHO has not prequalified the RTS for usage.
Malaria is one of the deadliest diseases across the world. In 2019 alone, the illness led to 409,000 deaths. Six countries account for half of all the deaths; Nigeria, DRC, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, and Niger.
Most times, the disease is transmitted through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito infected with Plasmodium. These mosquitos suck blood to nourish their eggs. Thus, when they bite and suck blood, they transmit the Plasmodium parasite, which causes Malaria.
For the first time, a vaccine has shown high efficacy in trials – preventing the disease 77% of the time among those receiving it. This is a landmark achievement. The WHO’s target efficacy for malaria vaccines is over 75%. https://t.co/8bVYeLDZ1i
— The Conversation Africa (@TC_Africa) April 26, 2021