Malaria remains a tough disease around the world — killing 526,000 annually by one estimate — but a new vaccine to protect against the mosquito-borne disease is showing promise.
Here are five facts about the new malaria vaccine.
The new vaccine, called Mosquirix, has been 30 years in the making, according to U.S. News and World Report
. Malaria is caused by parasites that get into the human bloodstream through bites of mosquitoes that are infected.
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It was approved in July 2015 by the European Medicines Agency, (like the FDA in Europe) paving the way for its implementation.
The manufacturer of the new vaccine is the UK-based company GlaxoSmithKline
The pharmaceutical giant touted a comprehensive approach to the malaria fight. It noted: "Malaria takes a devastating toll on communities and economies across Africa. The battle against the disease must be fought on all fronts using a wide range of interventions, including insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, effective medicines and treatments, and eventually, vaccines."
The drugmaker also noted, according to Reuters
, that they did not expect to earn profits off of the vaccine. They have priced it at cost to manufacture, adding on 5 percent that will be devoted to other malaria research.
Mosquirix was developed for use in children. Noted U.S. News: "In 2013 alone, the World Health Organization reported, Malaria killed 526,000 people in Africa – 83 percent of them young children." More regulatory authorities would have to approve it around the world. It will not be available until 2017.
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Reuters call Mosquirix "the first licensed human vaccine against a parasitic disease," should it make it to a global marketplace.
Reuters noted that the vaccine received partial funding of $200 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Fortune magazine said developers spent
more than $565 million to bring the vaccine to this stage over three decades.
Fortune also added that deaths from malaria have dipped 47 percent worldwide since 2000, in part because of stronger prevention efforts.
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