VOA News Examines Conculsion Of MIM Pan-African Malaria Conference

The 5th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Conference ended Friday in Nairobi, Kenya, “ with scientists expressing optimism about several developments in the works to prevent, treat, and possibly eradicate a disease that kills nearly one million people in Africa each year,” VOA News reports.

The experimental malaria vaccine Mosquirix‘s [also known as RTS,S] final stage trials “captured the most attention among the 1,500 scientists at this week’s conference,” the news service writes. Though results are “not expected for at least another three years,” Christian Loucq, of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, said, “We are definitely excited about it because we have got a certain level of confidence.” He added that researchers are working on building on their findings.

“At this point, we have reached 50 percent efficacy. We need to confirm that and by continuing different types of agents of vaccines, we think we can reach 80 percent in the next decade and a half. There is always a minimum chance that we might not succeed. But at this point in time, we are getting data that do seem to confirm that we have got something,” Loucq said.

“Some specialists at the conference presented studies on possible local remedies for the disease …,” according to VOA News. The consensus among scientists is that a “multi-pronged approach toward eradicating the disease is the best way to cope with a disease that is both adaptable and resilient. They urged international donor[s] to fund not only research into possible vaccines, but other developments that could help human beings stay one step ahead of the parasite.” 

More than $4 billion is needed per year to fully combat malaria worldwide, researchers estimate (Ryu, 11/6).