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A new malaria vaccine is available and Africa needs it as much as Covid Jab.New Times

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In the 1700s, Scottish doctor George Kreghorn discovered that quinine could be used to treat malaria that attacked British soldiers stationed in India. This substance was an important part of tonic water at the time, and its discovery led soldiers to drink it in gallons. Soldiers began adding gin as tonic water was so bitter and needed alcohol to relieve the pain of the war. Gin was the only drink found in the country. Next, lemon slices were added to balance the taste, inventing one of the most consumed drinks on the planet.

Malaria is still here for thousands of years on Earth, and after a well-known drink that has been held accountable, and most of the world does not have to deal with its effects, but it is very widespread. Sub-Saharan Africa remains a major location for cases worldwide, with 229 million reported cases of malaria, accounting for 94% of the global burden of the disease.

After decades of research, last week Malaria Day 2021 was made by the new Oxford, which was considered a breakthrough with 77% efficacy, as WHO’s malaria vaccine exceeded the target efficacy of 75%. Marked around the world with exciting news about vaccines. Never reached. But like all other vaccine stories (except Covid19), getting a jab out in the field can take years, and millions of Africans face a dark reality.

Vaccine story

As we all know, the Covid-19 vaccine has been invented, tried, approved and set an unprecedented record worldwide within a year. The mumps jab holds a four-year past record, as other well-known vaccines have been treated for decades before.

Vaccine production takes a (very) long time. After test vaccines have been tested on laboratory animals, they go through three stages of human testing. In Phase 1, several healthy volunteers receive the vaccine, test its safety, and provide a rough idea of ​​the amount of vaccine needed. In Phase 2, a larger amount is given to the larger group. Then the harmful Phase 3 begins. Here, a much larger group, compared to the unvaccinated control group, sees if it really prevents the disease. This Phase 3 trial is the most time-consuming step in the test, as researchers have to wait for a sufficient number of participants to be naturally exposed to the virus.

So how did the Covid19 vaccine break all the records known to humans? This depends on prior knowledge of the type of virus (using SARS and MERS), unlimited funding from governments and private investors, the response of a huge number of people, including thousands of volunteers, and often It was a combination of unprecedented regulatory efforts to accelerate the process. Year. Covid is worth the effort as it has paralyzed the whole world for a year and many countries are currently experiencing even greater blunders than those associated with the first and second waves. But zooming in on Africa can make another vaccine much more meaningful.

Is Zero Malaria within reach?

In honor of Covid, malaria should be placed in a devastating paddistor when we objectively look at the numbers. Covid has killed 3.19 million people so far, but malaria has existed since the dawn of mankind, killing 150 to 300 million people in the 20th century alone, and 2 to 5 of all deaths. It occupies a percentage. According to UNICEF, numbers have been very stable since 2001, with 400,000 to 500,000 people dying from malaria each year, most of them children under the age of five, and 94% of cases in sub-Saharan Africa. It is occurring in Africa. An estimated 300-600 million people suffer from malaria each year, and more than 40 percent of the world’s population live in areas at risk of malaria.

Now that the new Oxford malaria vaccine is here, the precedent set by Covid sheds ridiculous light on the process we once knew. “What we are hitting the table is why we get an emergency use authorization for the Covid vaccine in Africa in a few weeks. [a] Data for a much longer period of time, going through regular channels “? Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute in Oxford, told The Sunday Times. “I don’t want to spend five years getting this license while at least 1.5 million African children are dying.”

Hill raises important questions that the global community and local entities face and must answer. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the last frontier in the fight against malaria, so it may not be very interesting or urgent for other countries and institutions.

Call for action

Progress on malaria remains stagnant as the gap in access to life-saving tools undermines global efforts to control malaria, according to the WHO’s latest Global Malaria Report, Covid-19 Pandemic. Is expected to further retreat the fight.

“It’s time for leaders in Africa and around the world to face the challenge of malaria again, just as they laid the foundation for progress from the beginning of this century,” said WHO Secretary-General. Tedros Adhanom Gebreyes. “Through joint action and a commitment to leave no one behind, we can achieve our common vision of a malaria-free world.”

For action inspiration, we can look back at the beginning of the century. In 2000, African leaders signed the groundbreaking Abuja Declaration, promising to reduce malaria deaths on the African continent by 50% in 10 years. This pledge, along with innovations in new tools and a surge in funding, created strong political commitments, all catalyzing a period of unprecedented success in combating malaria globally. According to the WHO, 1.5 billion malaria cases and 7.6 million deaths have been avoided since 2000.

Currently, global attention is being paid to Covid. According to a study conducted by the Gates Foundation, the Covid-19-related turmoil could almost double next year’s malaria mortality rate, which could lead to even greater increases in the coming years.

Malaria remains a priority as 20 years of progress are at stake, and funding at both international and national levels is more important than ever. In 2019, the total funding will reach $ 3 billion, far below the global target of $ 5.6 billion, which is much lower in 2020. This ever-present pandemic should gain the attention, effort and funding of the global community, and new vaccine development should be given as well, if not more, than the benefits given to the Covid vaccine. not. It’s a matter of life and death for millions of people.

The writer is an entrepreneur and investor, leading sustainability-promoting companies in Africa and the Middle East.

[email protected]

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