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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid