By Dr. David Kaslow, PATH
A breakthrough in malaria vaccines has the potential to prevent millions of cases. Why was it so hard?
We are on the cusp of achieving what, for decades, was considered to be unlikely: an effective vaccine against a human parasite. The parasite in question — malaria — has stayed several steps ahead of the human immune system for millennia. While we’ve made great progress shrinking the global malaria map, no single tool will rid the planet of this pernicious parasite, which is why PATH is working on multiple approaches and solutions, including vaccines.
Now, a potentially first malaria vaccine is moving much closer to joining the battle. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently gave the green light to pilot implementations of the malaria vaccine candidate RTS,S in three to five African countries.