Researchers Dump Malaria Vaccine Project

Researchers Dump Malaria Vaccine Project

Postby Richard Akindele » Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:25 pm

Five years after a committee was inaugurated by the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) to find a veritable vaccine for malaria prevention, it is now evident that the project may not see the light of the day after all.

The committee comprising members from various disciplines was drafted by the institute in 2001 with backing from the Lagos State Government to pool all necessary efforts to produce a vaccine that could prevent the plasmodium parasite from causing malaria.

A member of the committee, Dr Philips Agomo, a malariologist who represented the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in the committee, had said shortly after it was constituted that the project was going to be a daunting one considering the evasive nature of the parasite and the poor state of facilities in the country.

Five years after, which is when the vaccine was to have been produced, investigations showed that the project is as good as dead.

Chairman of NIM’s Initiative Against Malaria (NIAM) Foundation, Dr Marshal Akinrele, who confirmed the termination of the vaccine project in an interview with Daily Independent in Lagos, stated that the cost of a malaria vaccine project was too bogus for any institution or organisation to bear in the country.

The NIAM project is a different initiative in the fight against malaria by the same institute.

His words: “The effort to develop a vaccine by the committee that was put in place in 2001 and efforts by others outside the country have been jettisoned by the ability of the plasmodium parasite that causes malaria to mutate rapidly as it moves from one person to another. This has made it extremely difficult for researchers and scientists to track the parasite, hence their inability to come out with a vaccine against it.�

Akinrele is the head of the committee that was instituted in 2001 to develop a malaria vaccine in Nigeria.

He, however, revealed that the institute through the NIAM foundation has gone ahead to access other avenues of fighting the disease.

Meanwhile, the foundation has recorded a breakthrough in its quest to develop a tool against malaria. It has produced a body cream from a local herbal preparation that repels the vector of the parasite, mosquito, from biting.

“We would require that more researches on this be done, as it seems to have a clue that could be useful in the development of a vaccine.�

The cream christened NIAM cream was developed with the help of Drugfield, a local pharmaceutical company in Lagos.

Source : Daily Independent (Nigeria) ... &sp=l27783
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