Trial of New Malaria Vaccine Begins in Lira

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Clinical trials of a new Malaria vaccine candidate have began in Lira disrtrict.

A total of 120 people are involved in the trials, intended to evaluate the efficacy of DK SE36, a new malaria vaccine.

The vaccine candidate was developed by DIKAN Company based in Japan.

The trial is headed by Dr Thomas Egwang, a senior research scientist in the Department of Medical Parasitology at Medical Biotechnology in Kampala.

Arnold Debuni, secretary for a community advisory board, conducting the trials says the vaccine will be given to the 120 volunteers. The volunteers will then be monitored for three months to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Speculation is rife that if successful, the vaccine could provide the much-needed relief in the fight against malaria, a disease that accounts for the highest percentage of the total number of patients visiting hospitals.

Peter Ojok, one of the volunteers says that he is happy to take part in the exercise, which he says could provide an answer to one of the fatal diseases.

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

Lango sub region particularly Apac district has one of the highest rates of malaria infections in the world. A study conducted in Aduku sub-county, Apac district found that each resident suffers close to 1,600 infective mosquito bites in a year.

The finding explains that the high malaria infection rate is mainly due to the swampy terrain that provides a fertile breeding ground for malaria-carrying female anopheles mosquitoes.

Beyond the human toll, malaria is also known to the economy, decreasing Gross Domestic Product by as much as 1.3 percent in countries with high levels of transmission, according to the World Health Organization.