Malaria Vaccine Trial Brings Hope

On Tuesday ITV news announced that a malaria vaccine, developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and trialled in Ghana, has almost halved the number of cases of malaria in children and could be for sale in Africa within a year.

According to ITV, GSK said it is planning to release the drug to market at the reduced price of $5 per vaccine. Although this cost is still expensive for millions across the Sub-Saharan region, it is relatively cheap and a major breakthrough in the fight against this costly, deadly disease.

The trial is one of the biggest ever undertaken and the results show that the vaccine could save millions of lives each year. 15,000 people took part in it, across seven African countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.

Professor Tsiri Agbenyega told Lawrence McGinty, from ITV news that they ‘have reached a “eureka moment” in the development of just such a vaccine – the first in the world against a parasite.’ His hospital in Agogo is one of 11 centres where trials of the malaria vaccine are being carried out.

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Although the full results are not yet available, the results are encouraging at this half-way point, as the vaccine nearly halves the number of episodes of malaria in children aged between 17 months and 5 years. For every 1,000 children vaccinated, 941 cases of clinical malaria were prevented over 18 months of follow-up.

 You can read more about it on ITV news here.

‘From The Heart’ – organ donation week

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All this week, ITV are raising awareness of organ donation, through a new campaign called ‘From The Heart’. There will be several programmes on ITV which will highlight the shortage of donated organs in the UK. They will be following the heart transplant team at Papworth Hospital, which is the UK’s largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital and the leading adult heart and lung transplantation centre. There will also be real-life stories about people who have benefited from organ donation and whose lives have been transformed. Viewers will be encouraged to join the organ donation register and be advised to talk to their loved ones about their wishes, as this helps to increase the chance of organ donation happening.

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On Wednesday night at 9pm there will be a special one hour entertainment show with music and comedy from celebrities who want to raise awareness of organ donation. The idea is that this Valentine’s Day everyone will have the chance to give a gift that could potentially transform and save the lives of others.

I think that this is a great campaign, and I am especially interested in it as I shall be spending next week in the Coronary Care Unit at Southampton Hospital, shadowing Dr Dhrubo Rakhit, a cardiology consultant.