Malaria vaccine 'a major advancement'

Malaria vaccine 'a major advancement'

The Medical Research Council's office for malaria research says a vaccine against the disease is a major advancement in the development of vaccines.

Hospital beds
File photo

The European Medicines Agency last month announced its endorsement for the world's first vaccine against malaria to be recommended for licensing for use in Africa. 

More than 10 000 cases were reported in South Africa last year with about 147 malaria deaths recorded.

The council's Rajendra Maharaj says this spells good news for the continent.

''Although it only offers 50% protective efficacy it is still quite good compared to the previous vaccines that have been proposed which had a protective efficacy of about 30%. 

''So a 20% increase in protected efficacy of a vaccine is really good and it heralds very good news for the actual vaccine development on the continent,'' he said.

Maharaj says funding is however an issue.

''Even though we are trying to eliminate the disease it's still going to require a lot of financial input and currently as a country, we're not receiving sufficient funds from the central government for implementing effective malaria control in the provinces,'' he added.

A malaria conference currently underway in Durban comes to an end tomorrow. 

(File photo: Gallo Images)

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