Federal funding for world-first malaria vaccine trial as cases spike in South Australia
Brad Crouch, Health Reporter, The Advertiser
March 8, 2019 12:30am
Malaria is on the rise in South Australia, with 11 cases confirmed so far this year, compared to one or none at the same time in the past five years.
The spike follows 34 cases last year — more than triple in any of the preceding four years.
Australia is free from endemic malaria and any cases here are believed to be linked to overseas travel.
The rise in cases comes as federal Health Minister Greg Hunt today announces the Government will support clinical trials to test the effectiveness of a world-first malaria vaccine in an attempt to globally eradicate the disease.
Rotary clubs around Australia have raised $500,000 for the Malaria Vaccine Project and Mr Hunt said the Government would match this with funding of $500,000.
The Government will provide the funding to Griffith University in Queensland for clinical trials to test the effectiveness of the new malaria vaccine PlasProtect.
“There have been many research efforts to control malaria through vaccine development but they tend to be only partially effective,” Mr Hunt said.
“This new approach will differ by using the entire malaria parasite to develop the vaccine and holds great promise. It has proven highly effective in animal trials and has been shown to be safe in humans, with the next step to undertake human clinical trials.”
According to the World Malaria Report 2018, there were 219 million cases of malaria in 2017, up from 217 million cases in 2016.
Last year, 403 Australian cases of overseas-acquired malaria were reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System.