Scientists Develop New Effective Malaria Vaccine

For the first time in history scientists have made a major breakthrough in malaria treatment. In a lab in Burkina Faso scientists from Oxford University have created a vaccine that is 77% effective in treating the deadly disease. Up to now researchers have only been able to come up with a vaccine that is about 50% effective.

The experimental vaccine, given to 450 small children, showed promising results. Now scientists plan to treat 5000 children with the new drug in the last phase of the trial. If all goes well, millions of doses of the vaccine will be produced in India.

Malaria is one of the deadliest diseases on our planet. Over 200 million people suffer from the illness that is transmitted to people by mosquitos in tropical regions. It kills over 400,000 people each year, mostly children in Africa. According to the World Health Organization, malaria has turned out to be even deadlier than COVID-19 in Africa.

A malaria vaccine is very difficult to develop because its structure, compared to the coronavirus, is very complicated.

Child with malaria in Ethiopia
Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Words

  • according to = as said by …
  • breakthrough = an important new discovery that you work on for a long time
  • develop = create or make something new
  • effective = when something works the way it should
  • experimental = used as an experiment
  • promising = here: hopeful, very good
  • researcher = someone who studies a topic and tries to find out new facts about it
  • scientist = a person who is trained in science and often works in a lab
  • transmit = to pass on to a person or animal
  • treatment = something that is done to cure someone who is ill
  • trial = test to find out if something works or not
  • vaccine = liquid that has a weak form of a virus and can protect people from becoming ill

Record number of COVID-19 cases in India

India, the world’s second most populous country, is experiencing a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The country is reporting over 300,000 new COVID-19 cases and 2,200 deaths every day, the highest number since the pandemic started last March.

Until a few months ago, Indian authorities had very good control over the situation. However, critics say the government opened up society too early. In many areas, life returned to normal and large mass gatherings with thousands of people were allowed.

Now, hospitals are overcrowded and many patients are not admitted. There are not enough beds, medical supplies and there is a lack of oxygen.

In addition, India has witnessed a very high number of COVID-19 variants, some of which cause more infections. The situation is especially severe in cities , where 30% of the population are tested positive. There may be even more cases because not much testing is done and many infections are undetected.

India has also been slow at vaccinating its population. Only 10% of Indians have received a first dose of vaccine, only 2% of the population are fully vaccinated.

Health workers in India
Javed Anees, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Words

  • authorities = group of people who are in control of something
  • fully = completely, with both shots
  • lack = not enough
  • mass gatherings = hundreds or thousands of people get together in a small space
  • medical supplies = the things you need to take care of people in a hospital
  • pandemic =
  • populous = many people live in a country
  • severe = here: dangerous
  • society = the people in general and the way they live and work together
  • undetected = not found
  • vaccine = liquid that can protect people from a disease or illness
  • variant = here: virus that has changed and is different from the original form
  • witness = see, experience