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1st Malaria Vaccine – Bold Advance for Humanity

David Livingston died of malaria. So did celebrated individuals like Oliver Cromwell and Vasco de Gama. Today some one million children and pregnant mothers each year succumb to malaria. Personally, I’ve treated hundreds of malaria patients in Angola, and at least twice suffered from malaria myself.


As a tropical medicine student at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, I was personally invested in their diligent efforts to develop an effective vaccine. Diligence has now born fruit in the release of RTS,S – the first malaria vaccine that shows protection in large scale clinical research studies. RTS,S is being administered to 360,000 children: first in Malawi, and then in Kenya and Ghana – regions where malaria is particularly lethal.


RTS,S is not an ideal vaccine. It protects 40% of those vaccinated, and that protection wanes after only 18 months. But as illustrated in the above graphic, administration to large populations over a period of years is mathematically predicted to curb malaria mortality. In this anticipation, we celebrate today with all of humanity!

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