News / Health

Sequestration Puts Malaria Vaccine Trial in Jeopardy

Sequestration Puts Malaria Vaccine Trial in Jeopardyi
X
March 13, 2013 1:52 AM
Cutting edge research on malaria is expected to be hit hard by the U.S. budget cuts known as "sequestration." The military is currently testing a vaccine - with results not published yet - at a facility outside Washington. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti looks at what’s being done now and what faces the budget axe.
No buzz is heard.  But you can almost feel the vibration of 10,000 mosquitoes.  

Instinctively, you scratch, even though no insect is freely flying.

The females are attracted to body heat to feed on blood - and in about a minute create a macabre hand art inside this bucket.

Welcome to the mosquito insectary at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.  It’s where insects are grown and vaccines are developed.  

Scientists here want to create the first malaria vaccine the world has known - to protect U.S. soldiers in malaria-prone countries.  Drug companies would produce the vaccine and extend its protection to half the world’s population that lives in countries where malaria is present.  

But, officials say the mandatory budget cuts, called sequestration, will affect further testing of a potentially cutting-edge malaria vaccine, soon to be published.  

Colonel Michael Kozar directs the military’s infectious disease research.

“Without funding to actually conduct the trial, it will delay development of that vaccine," said Colonel Kozar. "It will delay us getting an answer to determining if this is a real breakthrough or just a fluke.”

Kozar says sequestration will cut about one and a half billion dollars from research and development.  He says for the labs here at Walter Reed, that's about a 10 percent reduction, which could take some labs down to maintenance, not research.   

Research at Walter Reed depends on volunteers….who come into the lab regularly to get bitten on purpose.

For vaccine trials, each volunteer is given a cup filled with five malaria-infected mosquitoes.  They place their forearm over the cup.  The mosquitoes are given five minutes to feed.

Keenan Bailey volunteered for a recent trial.  He was vaccinated but still got malaria from the bites and was treated with medication.  He  worries about the upcoming budget cuts.

"It's really defeating to see your contribution,  the research of that being delayed," said Bailey.

The CDC says malaria causes 655,000 deaths annually, 8 out of 10 of those victims are children.  The researchers say their
work might be for the military, but the benefit would be felt worldwide.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More