Researchers at the Pasteur Institute in France have revealed a promising new malaria vaccine. The mosquito-borne disease kills roughly three million people a year, predominately in Africa.
In the past, researchers have found it very difficult to produce a vaccine as once inside the body the malaria parasite mutates and changes into a variety of different strains. The new treatment targets the parasite as it enters the body's red blood cells -- the most dangerous part of its life cycle.
The research team now plans to test the vaccine on people in Burkino Faso who are regularly exposed to malaria. However, due to the failure of past vaccine, they remain cautious about their success.
Malaria costs Africa more than US$17bn per year. The largest-ever international conference on the disease has recently begun in Cameroon to discuss the latest scientific findings on the disease. The problem is particularly severe in the country with malaria accounting for 45% of medical consultation, 57% of hospital admissions and 26% of sick leaves.