Malaria trial shows 70% reduction in hospitalisation or death among African youth
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CAPE TOWN- A trial combining vaccinations and prevention drugs has substantially lowered the number of children dying of malaria in two African countries, with a 70% reduction in hospitalisation or death, according to researchers.
According to reports, the trial was coordinated by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) with partners Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé, Burkina Faso, as well as the Malaria Research and Training Centre, University of Science, Technology and Techniques of Bamako, Mali.
According to the LSHTM, the trial followed nearly 6,000 children aged 5-17 months in Burkina Faso and Mali, two countries in West Africa with a very high burden of the disease which is caused by parasites transmitted to people through bites from infected female anopheles mosquitoes.
In a statement, the researchers said they had found that after three years, the combination of seasonal administration of anti-malarial drugs (known as Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention/SMC) and vaccination lowered clinical episodes of malaria, hospital admissions and deaths from malaria by about 70 percent.
The United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper reported that researchers believed the approach could prevent some of the 400,000 deaths from the mosquito-borne disease that occur every year, most of them children.
According to research website Our World In Data, 57 percent of malaria fatalities are among children younger than five years old, making it one of the leading causes of child mortality.
In April, the World Health Organization estimated that globally in 2019, 229 million clinical cases of malaria occurred, out of which 409,000 people died, most of them children in Africa.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death can usually be prevented.