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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Trade Talks Could Heat Up in 2015

With boosting trade a top priority for the Obama administration, 2015 may be the year that an agreement is finally reached on the Trans Pacific Partnership. But the trade deal, which is intended to boost trade between 12 Pacific countries, faces opposition as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school

All About America

AppleAndroid