Trial suggests malaria sickness could be cut by 70%

Trial suggests malaria sickness could be cut by 70%
Most deaths from malaria worldwide are in the under-fives. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: A new approach to protecting young children in Africa from malaria could reduce illness and deaths from the disease by 70%, a study suggests.

Researchers in London say, giving African children vaccines before the worst season in addition to preventative drugs produced “very striking” results.

The trial followed 6,000 children aged under 17 months in Mali and Burkina Faso.

Most of the 400,000 deaths from the mosquito-borne disease each year are in the under-fives.

Malaria is still a major health issue in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

This trial focused giving very young children a proven vaccine already in use and anti-malarial drugs at the time of year they are most vulnerable – often the rainy season (from June in Burkina Faso), when mosquitoes multiply. The trial result was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Prof Brian Greenwood, a member of the research team, said: “It worked better than we thought would be the case.”

The member of the research team, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), which led the trial, said.”Hospital admissions were less, deaths were less in both countries – and we really didn’t expect to see that.”

The trial found three doses of the vaccine and drugs before the worst malaria season, followed by a booster dose before subsequent rainy seasons, controlled infections much better than vaccines or drugs alone. The researchers said this could save millions of young lives in the African Sahel.

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