Review Article: Malaria Vaccine: The Pros and Cons
Background: Malaria is an important parasitic disease of humans caused by infection with a parasite of the genus Plasmodium and transmitted by female anopheles. Infection caused by P. falciparum is the most serious of all the other species (P. ovale, P. vivax and P. malariae) especially in terms of morbidity and mortality hence the reason why most of the research has been focussed on this species. The disease affects up to about 40 per cent of the world's population with around 300-500 million people currently infected and mainly in the tropics. It has a high morbidity and mortality especially in resource-poor tropical and subtropical regions with an economic fall of about US$ 12 billion annually in Africa alone. relevant literatures were reviewed from medical journals, library search and internet source. Other relevant websites like PATH, Malaria Vaccine Initiative and Global Fund were also visited to source for information. The key words employed were: malaria, vaccine, anopheles mosquito, insecticide treated bed-nets, pyrethroids and Plasmodium. several studies have underscored the need to develop an effective human malaria vaccine for the control and possible eradication of malaria across the globe with the view to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with the disease, improve on the social and economic losses and also protect those at risk. It is very obvious that the need for effective human malaria vaccine is not only to serve those living in malaria endemic regions but also the non-immune travellers especially those travelling to malaria endemic areas; this would offer cost effective means of preventing the disease, reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with it in addition to closing the gap left by other control measures. It is very obvious that there is no single control measure known to be effective in the control of malaria, hence the need for combination of more than one method with the aim of achieving synergy in the total control and possible eradication of the disease. It suffices to say that despite the use of combination of more than one method (e.g. drugs treating patients, breaking the life cycle of the vector mosquito using larvicides, clearing swamps and other mosquito breeding sites), no much progress was made towards achieving this goal, hence the renewed interest especially with regards to vaccine development.
Key words: malaria, vaccine, anopheles mosquito, insecticide treated bed-nets, pyrethroids and plasmodium