News / Health

WHO Unveils New Malaria 'Roadmap'

FILE - A young girl with malaria rests in the inpatient ward of the Malualkon Primary Health Care Center in Malualkon, in the South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, June 1, 2012
FILE - A young girl with malaria rests in the inpatient ward of the Malualkon Primary Health Care Center in Malualkon, in the South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, June 1, 2012

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
Malaria infects hundreds of millions of people every year and causes well over a half million deaths. The World Health Organization and its partners Thursday announced a new goal to license vaccines by 2030 that would sharply reduce malaria cases and eventually eliminate the disease.


The 2013 Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap was unveiled in Washington. It expands the scope of vaccine research, calling for vaccines that can reduce malaria cases by 75 percent and that are suitable for use in all endemic-areas. Malaria affects nearly 100 countries and territories, with a particularly heavy burden in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The most recent figures that we have from the World Health Organization are for an estimated 660,000 deaths each year. It’s hard to get your head around that number because it’s such a large figure, said Dr. Vasee Moorthy, who’s with the World Health Organization’s Department of Immunizations and Vaccines. "So another way of thinking about it is that’s about 2,000 deaths each day from malaria. Now most of those deaths are in children under five in Africa, but there are also deaths elsewhere in parts of the Americas, in the Middle East and in Asia. And in terms of the number of cases, those deaths are from about 219 million cases of malaria.”

While there are no licensed vaccines yet against malaria, progress has been made in reducing cases. That’s due to better diagnosis, drugs, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and control of mosquito populations, which carry the malaria parasites.

“We’ve seen a 26 percent reduction in global malaria death rates over the last decade. If we could successfully develop malaria vaccines, they could have an important complementary role together with these malaria control measures,” Moorthy said.

Moorthy said that the 2013 Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap builds upon the original roadmap unveiled in 2006.

“It’s a more ambitious target now -- in that the roadmap is now being expanded to include Plasmodium vivax as well as falciparum," he said. "So falciparum is the form of malaria that causes most of the deaths, but vivax wasn’t previously included.”

While Plasmodium vivax may not cause as many deaths, it’s the source of many new cases. This is true in many countries – especially in the Americas and Asia -- where progress has been made against the falciparum form of the disease. It often strikes adults, leaving them unable to work.

“The original roadmap included a goal of having a licensed vaccine by 2015 against the most deadly form of malaria, falciparum. And this is retained in the new roadmap -- and adding the new goal of having a second generation of vaccines licensed by 2030,” said Moorthy.

It’s not clear whether the 2015 goal will be met. There are 27 malaria vaccine candidates in clinical trial. The most advanced candidate, RTS,S/AS01, is in Phase III trials. The results will be available in 2015 and then undergo regulatory review.

The new Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap is a collaborative effort led by the WHO, along with the U.S. and European governments and agencies, donors, developers and NGOs.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs