World's First Malaria Vaccine Coming to Africa in 2018

The world's first malaria vaccine will be released in Ghana, Keyna, and Malawi in 2018. While malaria was eradicated in the US by 1951, it still kills over 400,000 people worldwide each year. Will this vaccine help eradicate malaria? 

 

 

 

Credit: Getty Images

Malaria was eradicated in the United States by 1951, yet there were still an estimated 438,000 deaths worldwide from malaria in 2015. 90% of these deaths occurred in Africa, with 292,000 children dying before the age of five.


A new development may change these statistics for the better.

This week, the World Health Organization announced that the world's first malaria vaccine will be piloted in three African nations (Ghana, Kenya, Malawi) in 2018.

First-ever @malariavaccine pilot will take place in Ghana, Kenya, & Malawi. Press release: https://t.co/8cpFTO13jX #vaccineswork #endmalaria pic.twitter.com/Zou9nZViZi

— PATH (@PATHtweets) April 24, 2017

"We have to figure out who is still driving transmission, who is not receiving access to the right tools and making sure that you extend access to everyone who’s driving transmission and everyone who is still vulnerable to the disease."-Philip Eckoff, Principal Investigator of the disease modeling team at Intellectual Ventures
Will the Vaccine Give a False Sense of Security?

The potential risk with releasing the malaria vaccine, as discussed in this BBC article, is that having an available vaccine may give people a false sense of security (given the many factors impacting malaria). In order to dramatically reduce malaria in Africa, the vaccine would have to be used in conjuction (as Bill Gates pointed out in his three strategies, above) with prevention--utilizing bed-nets and sprays to reduce the likelihood of getting bit.

While this vaccine is not the "complete cure," it is a major step in the right direction towards doing what we've done in the United States and Europe--eradicate malaria.
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