An exciting recent development has been reported in the prestigious journal Science regarding the development of a anti-malaria vaccine that has been shown to substantially reduce childhood victims of this disease. This vaccine is referred to as RTS, S. or Mosquirix and made by GSK.
Analysis of the efficacy of this vaccine approved to combat the death of the young children demonstrated a 13% drop in mortality during a nearly 4 year duration. This result was reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition it was also found that there was a 22% reduction in the incidence of severe malaria in children young enough to receive a three-shot series.
According to John Tanko Bawa, director of the malaria vaccine implementation at the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) stated, “The RTS,S malaria vaccine is already saving lives.” Furthermore he noted that, “What we have seen is a considerable impact of a vaccine described as having modest efficacy.”
The results of this analysis is so impressive that it has been estimated that the mortality decline could ultimately save tens of thousands of lives if RTS,S, is more broadly utilized.
In regard to the actual mode of action of RTS,S vaccine, it binds to the circumsporozoite protein on the surface of P. falciparum parasite before it infects liver cells disrupting its life cycle so that it is unable to infect circulating red bloods where it exerts its deadly effect – a pre-erythrocytic vaccine.
This is a profoundly important development in regard to the control of the spread of malaria among susceptible human populations.