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World health bodies to develop malaria vaccine

Written by: Staff
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Bangkok, Dec 4 (UNI) Leading multilateral and private health bodies today launched a global initiative here to develop a malaria vaccine to protect hundreds of millions of people annually struck by the killer disease.

''The Roadmap marks the first concerted global attempt at mapping out a shared plan of action for making a preventive malaria vaccine a reality,'' said Marie-Paule Kieny, Director of the Initiative for Vaccine Research of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap was unveiled at the Global Vaccine Research Forum being held here from December 3 to 6.

The strategy spells out an action plan for the development and licensing of a malaria vaccine by 2025 with a more than 80 per cent efficacy and providing protection of over four years.

An interim target is to develop and license a first-generation vaccine by 2015 with 50 per cent protective efficacy that would last longer than one year.

Between 300 to 500 million people are affected by malaria every year and the mosquito-spread disease kills more than one million people annually, mainly African children.

The Roadmap calls for collaboration among scientists, funding organisations and national and global decision-makers.

The exercise was initiated following scientific confirmation that it is possible to develop a malaria vaccine.

More than 230 experts representing 100 organisations from 35 countries collaborated on the Roadmap over a two-year period.

The exercise was sponsored by the Bill Gates and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

It also involves WHO, PATH MVI, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), the European Malaria Vaccine Initiative (EMVI), the European Commission Directorate General for Research, the US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

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