Virginia Postrel notes a possible breakthrough in developing a malaria vaccine, thanks in part to funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She quotes the Washington Post:
An experimental vaccine can slash the risk that children will get malaria, apparently offering the first effective way to inoculate youngsters against one of the world’s biggest, most intractable killers, researchers reported yesterday.
An eagerly awaited study involving 2,022 children in Mozambique, in east Africa, found the vaccine cut by one-third the likelihood of getting malaria and reduced by more than half the risk of developing serious, life-threatening cases of the disease….
The malaria parasite infects about 300 million people each year and kills between 1 million and 3 million, mostly children — making it the most common infectious disease and among the top three killers. Although malaria has been largely eliminated from the United States and Europe, it remains a major public health scourge in the developing world. In Africa, malaria is the No. 1 killer of children younger than 5, claiming the life of one child every 30 seconds by some estimates….
“Malaria has had a sense of hopelessness and intractability about it,” said Melinda Moree, director of the Malaria Vaccine Initiative, which is promoting development of malaria vaccines with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “These results bring hope to us all that a malaria vaccine might at last be within our grasp.”