Malaria kills up to 1 million people every year, most of whom are children in Africa. Last month, a consortium of scientists released initial results from the world’s first large-scale clinical trial of a malaria vaccine. The results are preliminary—the trial will continue through 2014—but malaria experts were encouraged to see that vaccinated children had roughly half as many episodes of malaria as unvaccinated children. Many questions remain for the vaccine, however. Will it prove as effective in the smallest babies? How long will the protection last? Are there dangerous side effects? Will it be affordable for poor countries? Since it doesn’t provide 100% protection, what are the best ways to combine it with mosquito nets and other prevention efforts already in use?
Join us for a live chat about malaria vaccines and other tools used to fight the disease at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, 10 November, on this page. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts.
Laurence Slutsker is the associate director for science for the CDC Center for Global Health. He has done extensive epidemiology research in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Sudan, South Africa, Japan, and the United States. His current work is focused on the prevention and treatment of malaria in infants and pregnant women, anti-malarial drug resistance, interactions between HIV and malaria, and evaluations of malaria control programs.
Vasee Moorthy is the focal point for malaria vaccine research at the World Health Organization (WHO). Part of his job is to help develop global research standards that can be used to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new malaria vaccines. He also works to find ways that the research community can help speed the development of malaria vaccines for poor countries. Before joining WHO, he conducted malaria vaccine field trials and clinical malaria research in The Gambia and South Africa.