New malaria vaccine would not be available in years: Tanzanian scientist
DAR ES SALAAM, April 25 (Xinhua) -- A Tanzanian scientist warned on Saturday that people should not rejoice over the newly released findings for the new malaria vaccine, saying it might be too early to celebrate the results.
"Tanzanians would have to wait for long enough, perhaps two to three years from now, before the potential vaccine can become a reality in the country," Ladislaus Mnyone said when speaking during celebrations to mark the World Malaria Day.
The scientist from Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania's leading malaria research facility, said the new vaccine candidate produced by British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline Company was still subject to a long chain of tests and approvals by the World Health Organization before it could finally be made available on the Tanzanian market.
The findings published in the Lancet Journal showed that a new malaria vaccine tested on 16,000 children from Tanzania and six other African countries revealed that it was 46 percent effective against malaria parasites.
The new development has raised fresh hopes of reducing malaria deaths in children, although scientists who have been working on the vaccine for more than 20 years have said that it only offers partial protection against the disease.
Mnyone said the vaccine would have to sail through a difficult logistics structure, long distribution channels and at times a disruptive black market across much of the continent before the end users would realize its benefits.
"I know people are very anxious to see the newly announced vaccine. We scientists would have wished to see that too. Unfortunately, the procurement and distribution chain for the vaccine will be a stumbling block," he said.
In Tanzania, about 60,000 people lose their lives annually due to the disease, with 80 percent of these being children under the age of five.