Earlier this month, I wrote a blog post about the importance of vaccines (you can read it here) and how much potential they hold in terms of keeping the world healthy. After writing this, I learned about a new malaria vaccine that is showing great promise.
Scientists have yet to create an effective and accessible malaria vaccine, but recently a new vaccine protected 12 out of the 15 volunteers from malaria. This new vaccine is called PfSPZ, and if it continues to have the success it has been having, it could very much change how malaria is treated. NPR covered this story here: Dr. Anthony Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, calls the findings “unprecedented.”
However, Dr. Fauci isn’t being naive about the fact that this study was conducted on a very small population: “It’s true to say that this is really impressive to have this degree of protection, but on the other hand you have to temper it by saying the numbers are still relatively small.” NPR further reported that this study doesn’t show how long PfSPZ protects the vaccinated person from malaria. (Image from National Geographic)
What Makes This Vaccine Different?
Making a vaccine for malaria is very difficult because malaria can change and adapt in the human body. NPR explained PfSPZ in the following statement: “PfSPZ is different from these previous vaccines because it uses whole, weakened parasites to trigger an immune response, instead of just a small part of the parasite, like a protein on its surface.” Sanaria, the company behind PfSPZ, is more than pleased with the results and is now trying to get PfSPZ tested on a larger scale. If these tests are successful, Sanaria is hoping to have a working vaccine no later than 2018.
Jolkona & Global Health
Here at Jolkona, August is Global Health month for our Give Together program, and we have three dedicated projects for this theme: helping India’s mothers and babies through Calcutta Kids; healing Bolivian children by supporting Esperanca, a medical treatment center that has helped thousands; and supplying prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation programs to amputees through BRAC: Haiti. For more information about all of these projects, read here. If you like what you read, join our Give Together community to contribute to these and other worthy causes!