Kenyan researchers to end malaria by drugs, vaccine

Published: April 15, 2018 13:39:30 | Updated: April 18, 2018 13:58:31

Kenyan researchers plan to use drugs, vaccine to end malaria menace. Photo: CGTN

Kenyan researchers said on Saturday that they plan to use a combination of new drugs as well as a vaccine in order to end malaria menace in the country.

Lucas Otieno, Deputy Director of Clinical Operations at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Nairobi said, that the illness is caused by a parasite hence even those to be vaccinated in future can still get infected.

"As a result, it will take a combination of both vaccines and powerful anti-malaria drugs in order to eliminate malaria in the country," Otieno said.

"These two interventions will complement each other because there is no magic bullet against malaria," he added.

He revealed that the malaria vaccine will be the first vaccine against a parasite and so it will be difficult to achieve 100 per cent efficacy.

State-owned KEMRI is currently involved in the clinical research for the development of a new anti-malaria vaccine and drug together with drug manufacturers.

Otieno, who is also the principal investigator of new malaria vaccine, said phase three of the malaria vaccine studies have been completed.

"The research shows that after the vaccine is administered it will have an efficacy of only 55 per cent against malaria infections in the first year and 40 per cent after five years," he added.

In 2015, the study data was presented to the World Health Organization (WHO), which made a recommendation for the vaccine to undergo pilot implementation.

Otieno noted that the vaccine will be rolled out on a pilot basis in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda for period of about five years in order for more data to be gathered on the efficacy of the medication.

The research data will then be presented to the WHO which will make the final decision on whether the drug will be released into the market.

According to KEMRI, the vaccine will be given to children who are between the ages five to 17 months in four dosages at immunisation clinics.

The first three jabs will be administered one month apart while the fourth jab will come about 15 months later.

According to the scientists, the vaccine attacks the parasite during the liver stage of the disease while the anti-malaria drugs work during the blood stage of the disease.

KEMRI is also currently working on a new anti-malaria drug dubbed KAF 156, which will replace existing anti-malaria medications, reports Xinhua from Nairobi.

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