Fighting Malaria a World Away
Seattle Post-Intelligencer; A1
A clinical trial for an experimental vaccine against malaria will begin in Africa with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Malaria Vaccine Initiative. Three thousand people die due to malaria infections each day, says Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation director of infectious diseases Gina Rabinovich. Eliminating malaria from Africa would boost the continent's gross domestic product by $100 billion, according to Rabinovich. Coordination of the trial, beginning in Mozambique, is by the public health organization Program for Appropriate Technology in Health. More than 2,000 children in Mozambique will receive a malaria vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline and researchers from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The vaccine was originally discovered 15 years ago, and it is just now getting enough funding to enter clinical trials; drug companies are generally not interested in financing trials for drug products with small profit margins. The Gates Foundation is committed to finding a vaccine for malaria and has donated $125 million into a variety of research-based programs. Previous studies with the experimental vaccine showed some immunity in adults, but researchers hope that immunity is greater in children.