Posted by Chris McGrath on Mar 08, 2019

New malaria vaccine clinical trials aims to globally eradicate the disease

08 March 2019

Rotary clubs around Australia have been fundraising for the Malaria Vaccine Project through a campaign known as Rotary Against Malaria. (Known as RAM).
The Australian Government will support clinical trials to test the effectiveness of a world-first malaria vaccine in an attempt to globally eradicate the deadly disease.

The Rotary clubs have raised $500,000 and the Government will match this with funding of $500,000 towards the Malaria Vaccine Project, which has developed a new novel vaccine for the disease.

The Government will provide the funding to Griffith University through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to undertake clinical trials to test the effectiveness of the new malaria vaccine PlasProtect©.

There have been many research efforts to control malaria through vaccine development, but they tend to be only partially effective.

This new approach will differ by using the entire malaria parasite to develop the vaccine and holds great promise.

It has proven highly effective in animal trials and has been shown to be safe in humans, with the next step to undertake human clinical trials.

Malaria is a disease that affects over two hundred million people each year, including thousands of Australians who acquire it while travelling.

Over 450,000 people, mostly children and pregnant women, die each year of malaria.

Rotary clubs together with our Government have come together to help eradicate this insidious disease. This has the potential to save millions of lives.

Malaria is caused by an infection with malaria parasites, and is generally characterised by fever, shivering headaches and chills in the uncomplicated form.

Some population groups are at considerably higher risk of contracting malaria, and developing severe disease, than others. 

These include infants, children under five years of age, pregnant women and patients with low levels of immunity. 

According to the latest World Malaria Report 2018, there were 219 million cases of malaria in 2017, up from 217 million cases in 2016. 

Last year 403 Australian cases of overseas-acquired malaria were reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System.

In addition to this latest funding, since 2016 more than $52 million has been provided to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to support research into malaria.
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