The malaria vaccine currently in clinical trials in Ghana is likely to be ready for general release in 2011. From the Accra Mail:
Dr. Seth Owusu Agyei, Director of Kintampo Health Research Centre (KHRC) in the Brong Ahafo Region has stated that he is very hopeful that by the year 2011, the centre would have come out with a malaria vaccine RTS,S, which is currently going through clinical trials, for use in Ghana and across Africa to control malaria.
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Ghana, Kenya, Gambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Senegal are the six African countries currently taking part in the phase two trials of the vaccine.
He said that Kintampo Health Research Centre and the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research at Agogo in the Ashanti Region, were conducting the trials on 540 children aged between five and 17 months, and it would last for 20 months.
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He explained, on the average, children in the district between the ages of 6 months to five years get six to seven malaria attacks in a year.
Again on the average, an individual gets about 270 affective bites from mosquitoes.
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He said malaria causes about twenty thousand deaths worldwide; and hopefully with the introduction of the malaria vaccine ten thousand deaths could be prevented.
Dr Owusu-Agyei stressed that, if the trials prove successful after further scientific research, it was expected that by 2011, the RTS,S would be available for use in Ghana and across Africa.
Depending on the success of the current phase two of the clinical trials, the trials will be expanded to phase three in 2008. Phase two emphasizes safety, phase three emphasizes efficacy. And then by 2011, providing the trials go well, the vaccine could become generally available. The challenge will be meeting the cost and providing the funding, to make the vaccine generally available to all those who need it.
For a vivid account of the effects of malaria, and to understand more of why it is so devastating to individuals and communities, see the description of a malaria attack written by Ryszard Kapuscinski, and posted here.