Malaria Vaccine Trials Begin in Africa

After seeing today’s film in class, you may be interested in the news that a massive malaria vaccine trial has recently been launched in Africa. If successful, the first commercial malaria vaccine could be available as early as 2012 – a major achievement.

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7 Responses to “Malaria Vaccine Trials Begin in Africa”


  1. 1 Liu Ka Yu, Athena 19/11/2009 at 2:25 am

    I am glad to hear that a new vaccine has been launched and would be available to Africa because it can help to prevent them from infecting malaria which requires more efforts and times to cure it.

    But apart from vaccine, what other methods can we adopt to help them in a more comprehensive way? In my opinion, fighting against the spread of malaria require more efforts and there are various ways that the local government or the international community can do. They are the suggestions that inspired me in the video.

    For example, how about a mosquito bednet for each household for free? In the video, there are only very few people who can afford to but bednet which can prevent mosquito biting them at nights. BUt it is an effective and cheap way to fight against the problem.

    What role does education play in the spreading of malaria? Putting more resources in educating professionals, including doctors and nurses which helps develping countries to solve the problem at the root. From the video, I can see that many poor people living in Africa lack a comprehensive and big hospital which can save their lifes. The hospital there not only lacks technological facilities, but also human resources. One hospital only has one doctor and several nurses.

    I hope that various aspects could be done to stop the spread of malaria in developing countries which has relatively less economic, social and political powers.

  2. 2 Samuel Quintanar 19/11/2009 at 11:51 am

    I’m very happy to see that there is a sufficient degree of political will in the west to takle the malaria issue. It is a very sad situation to see that relatively cheap precautions against malaria such as bed nets continue to be too expensive for many at-risk families. This is not the first health related issue that I’ve heard of that seems to have relatively cheap solutions that are still well beyond the financial capacities for people in many African nations. As has been a common themse in the class, I beliebe that ultametely the solution lies in consumer pressures in the west that can force governments and coorporations to devote more resources towards takling these issues.

  3. 3 Chow Chui Yin, Kuma 20/11/2009 at 12:01 am

    Good news about new vaccines and nonetheless, the new direction to combine vaccines in research. Price is a huge factor though, that the research group is saying price wouldn’t be a problem? It takes more than 4 billion dollars a year to solve the malaria problem. I’m skeptical in a sense that even now providing people in malaria rampant zones is not done due to the price factor. I did not read about political will being poured into this fighting malaria initiative, aside from some fund that Bill Gate has set up with his wife. I didn’t read about governments’ actions. Most important of all, I didn’t read about sustainable funding for the fight of malaria. UN has a plan to cut malaria infection rate by half by 2010, using the year 2000’s figure as base. It will be two months before 2010, and with now only 5% of African households use bednets, and still every 30 second a child died of malaria, I think it’s not time to be so cheerful just because of this one piece of news coming at us saying there’s a new vaccine research.

    The problem of malaria is multifaceted. The numbers of infection and deaths connected with malaria remain disputed. In 2005 WTO said only 135 deaths were there in Kenya resulting from malaria, but it was using statistics provided by Kenyan government. Scientist estimated the figure to be 36000 instead. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4198388.stm)

    People are skeptical about the numbers and figures of malaria, as you can see in the documentary we watched, seems like every kid is dying, and that every kid if portrayed to die of malaria, but there were no diagnosis or blood tests to show they were real malaria cases.

    I must make my point clear that I believe it doesn’t take tests, but judging from the environment the people live in, especially during rainy season, and the lack of malaria preventive measures, as well as lack of accessible hospital or clinic–it doesn’t take a brilliant intellectual to say that these are malaria danger zones and they need great protection from the disease. I myself believe malaria measures have to go ahead, it is just common sense. But yes, people out there are skeptical not of stock markets or anything, but rather malaria really plays such a big role in harming the development of Africa.

    What they’re saying is there are a whole array of diseases these poor people are dying from, could be AIDs, could be malnutrition, could be other infectious diseases.

    To survey about various sicknesses and ailments is a huge tedious job and time consuming. Yet that shouldn’t provide a reason to halt and procrastinate measures that can work against some conceivable diseases.

    I myself a malaria survivor, I think there is no better preventive measures than accessible health care, tests really have to be carried out before someone buy or receive malaria drugs, that prevents abuse of the drugs and drug resistance. I think providing bed nets is the task we can do right now, but we have to work on many things, not just making sure the nets are there, but how we get the nets there–that is a logistic issue, as well as how we can make sure the people will use them right and use them well–that takes education. I’d like to conclude by saying, with so many diseases in developing countries, no one should just focus too much on the impact of one single disease, especially in countries where correct statistics are unavailable, the best measure to ensure people’s great health is always setting up clinics–a hospital without water or with only one doctor is definitely definitely unacceptable for 500,000 people.

  4. 4 Chow Chui Yin, Kuma 20/11/2009 at 12:08 am

    Situation in Ghana, where greater learning of proper use if bednets is supported by the UNICEF. They sent educators on bikes to visit households and give bednet lessons. ( http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ghana_40840.html)

  5. 5 Lee Yuen Fung 21/11/2009 at 4:18 pm

    The effects of Malaria in Africa had always been a very distant and incomprehensible issue for me. However, after watching the movie in class, I realised a devastating situation where, on one hand, the people in Africa are so helpless with poverty, and on the other hand, there are only few who are willing to help regardless of any business value being made. One element in the film that angered me was how the bed nets were have to be sold to be used even at such fast rates of death. One of the heros in the film, the Chief, made a very important as well as alarming point in saying that the bed nets should be given free to the children there in Gambia and Kenya, instead of having more malaria-infected children by the second while the bed nets were left wasted in the warehouses. The ending of the film was sadly concluded without any progression on the problem, regardless of the great amount of efforts made by Professor Cohen and his team and Professor Sachs.
    After reading the article provided in this entry, it calms the mind in knowing that malaria vaccination trials are continually carried out in Africa. The reason why I have great expectations in the mentioned trial is due to its massive scale of reach. Like the vaccination tests performed in London by Dr. Cohen in the film, not every candidate was proven immunised against malaria, but still, there were few cases of success. Following this, given the fast-changing mutation of the pathogen in developing resistance against vaccinations, doctors and researchers should provide vaccinations to as much people who are in areas of infection as possible even at the trial stage, in order to hope to provide resistance of malaria in as much people as possible. And this is what the present trial invloves, it is the largest clinical trial ever in Africa while being conducted in seven countries. I strongly hope that this broad cross-section of different environments can provide as much as possible the best test of the vaccine.

  6. 6 Testa, Xiong Haotao 22/11/2009 at 5:40 pm

    The documentary we watched in class contains a lot of problems regarding the spread of malaria. In certain areas of Africa, the infectious rate of malaria is very high. However, local people can do little, or, nothing to combat with the spreading of it.

    One issue is the collapse health care system: once people, especially children get infected, they cannot receive appropriate medical treatment in time. Shown in the documentary, basically, there are two sources of medical care: herbalist and hospital. Herbalists separated in local villages and people can get medicines from them much easier than going far away to the hospital. However, those herbalists are not doctors with relative certificate. Some times the patients may get worse. Situations aren’t much better in hospital. Regardless of the traffic and other fees people have to pay, as the movie shows, the only one doctor wasn’t there.

    Another thing is the vicious circle of poverty and malaria: in Africa, people are so poor, many don’t have enough food to eat. Neither could they afford the medicine. Those who get infected can do nothing but wait, which means they can not work. This will make them even poorer. And in all, with so many labors cannot work because of malaria, the pace of economic development will be slowed down.

    The failing health care system and the vicious circle cannot be solved by local government or local people. Even though we can see the Chief in the documentary has tried his best to help local people. Still, they can not help themselves. What can the internationally society do for them?

    How can we help? By offering money and anti-mosquito equipment and other materials? Will these measures be effective? One example is offering bed-net, which can help a lot in protecting people from infection. However, people cannot afford the bed-net, even though it seems very cheap. For those who donate to the bed-net programme, why don’t they just make it free for all the African people in need. Maybe the budget is one of the major concerns. We can foresee that similar problem will happen in the vaccine once it become commercial. How can we make the vaccine affordable for every people in danger of malaria?

    From my point of view, local health care system should be rebuilt in this anti-malaria war. And doctors and other volunteers can be sent to regions in need. What’s more, local people should have basic knowledge on malaria and how to prevent it. Out of Africa, media should play an important role in helping people realize the importance of solving this problem.So we should As to the vaccine and bed-net, the most ideal solution is to make them all free. The biggest problem here is funding. Different NGOs can cooperate to cope with the problem.

  7. 7 Rosie Macgill 25/11/2009 at 12:01 am

    I enjoyed watching the documentary as I find it fascinating and helpful to watch those documentaries that tell the real story from the perspective of the people affected themselves. This story showed the true effect of what politics can do. True, awareness and resources are something that we need to and are able to provide in the developed world. NGO’s do incredible jobs everyday fighting to attain sustainable living environments for those in the direst situations. However, I feel that the aid given by the Western world is simply a cover up and quick solution to the problem of quite often very political objectives.

    Primarily I feel it stems from the expense of research and development. The vast comparative advantages the West has over the developing world in terms of technological expertise and resources available to them gives companies a huge monopoly over how to sell pharmaceuticals worldwide. The West has the capability to research into and develop highly complex medicine that many poorer countries simply don’t possess the means to. The West needs to protect its innovations in medicine though the use of patent protection. This has adverse effects on the market for drugs, allowing the country in possession of the patent to charge whatever they like in order to make the returns spent on developing the drug and a profit. There is no market competition to bring the prices down.

    What I am trying to say is that developed countries will look to the markets where they are most likely to make their money back. Therefore I believe the capabilities for innovation in the drug field for many third world diseases has had the potential to be realised but for political, profit-making reasons, money has poured into the research of cures and medicine for the developed world, ie Parkinson’s or Cancer.

    Diseases like malaria have been one step behind when they could have and should have been precedence. Only now, with Social Corporate Responsibility and awareness of the consumers concerns with aid have research institutions changed their priorities, with effective results: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8375297.stm


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