NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyan researchers said on Saturday that they
plan to use a combination of new drugs as well as a vaccine in
order to end malaria menace in the country.
Otieno, Deputy Director of Clinical Operations at the Kenya
Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), told Xinhua in Nairobi that
the illness is caused by a parasite hence even those to be
vaccinated in future can still get infected.
"As a result, it will take a combination of both vaccines and
powerful anti-malaria drugs in order to eliminate malaria in the
country," Otieno said.
"These two interventions will complement each other because
there is no magic bullet against malaria," he added.
He revealed that the malaria vaccine will be the first
vaccine against a parasite and so it will be difficult to
achieve 100 percent efficacy.
State-owned KEMRI is currently involved in the clinical
research for the development of a new anti-malaria vaccine and
drug together with drug manufacturers.
Otieno, who is also the principal investigator of new malaria
vaccine, said phase three of the malaria vaccine studies have
"The research shows that after the vaccine is administered it
will have an efficacy of only 55 percent against malaria
infections in the first year and 40 percent after five years,"
In 2015, the study data was presented to the World Health
Organization (WHO), which made a recommendation for the vaccine
to undergo pilot implementation.
Otieno noted that the vaccine will be rolled out on a pilot
basis in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda for period of about five years
in order for more data to be gathered on the efficacy of the
The research data will then be presented to the WHO which
will make the final decision on whether the drug will be
released into the market.
According to KEMRI, the vaccine will be given to children who
are between the ages five to 17 months in four dosages at
The first three jabs will be administered one month apart
while the fourth jab will come about 15 months later.
According to the scientists, the vaccine attacks the parasite
during the liver stage of the disease while the anti-malaria
drugs work during the blood stage of the disease.
KEMRI is also currently working on a new anti-malaria drug
dubbed KAF 156, which will replace existing anti-malaria
The drug research will initially focus on older age groups
and once proven to be working and safe, there will be age
de-escalation where the scientists will develop drugs for
Otieno said the development of the new drug is important
because they have reported cases of resistance against the
current drug regime for malaria.
He noted that it is important for countries to stay ahead of
the parasite, if the global community is to eliminate the
"There has been a decrease in sensitivity of the current
recommended anti-malaria drugs, so we need to stay ahead of
parasite in case resistance emerges so that we have new ways to
treat until we develop methods to completely eradicate malaria,"
The researcher said the main aim of the new anti-malaria is
to reduce the number of days required for treatment.
"With current treatment, patients need to take the medicine
for three days and this could lead to cases of drug resistance
if individuals stop taking medication before the required time,"
According to the Ministry of Health, most fatalities from
malaria are from children as their immunity is not as high as
that of adults.
Otieno noted that if patients don’t seek medication on time,
it can lead to complications such as cerebral malaria, anemia or
even renal failure.