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Malaria product portfolio would benefit from greater cohesion amongst stakeholders
Date:10/4/2007

Malaria drug and vaccine research is booming. According to a report launched today in the UK by Australian researchers at The George Institute for International Health, 16 new malaria vaccine candidates are now in clinical trials; six new malaria drugs are about to reach the market; and by 2011 we will have up to 12 new anti-malarial drug product registered.

However, this unprecedented level of malaria R&D activity is not necessarily all good news. The reports authors found that the high number of malaria vaccine candidates was the result of scientific and technical gaps and lacking policy coordination rather than a reflection of cohesive global activity. Lack of coordination and planning mean that invested funding and efforts are not delivering as much as they should, and may be costing donors tens of millions of dollars.

According to Dr Mary Moran, the reports lead author, improved vaccine research co-ordination and investment decisions could save more than USD20 million over 5 years and prevent up to 3,000 unnecessary test vaccinations in African children. The most tantalizing finding was that these high-impact policy interventions and the resulting savings - are well within reach if donors and developers can work together, said Dr Moran. We need a system to ensure that fewer and better vaccine candidates enter clinical trials in Africa.

On the drug front, the report welcomed the arrival of new anti-malarials after a dearth of many decades, but noted that this meant donors, purchasers and developing countries are now faced with the challenge of working out which of the many competing products offer the best cost-benefit for African populations, and the funding of very large and expensive studies which are needed to determine this. Post-registration trials of tens to hundreds of thousands of patients will be needed to ensure that these new drugs are appropriately absorbed by already strained health systems and appropr
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Contact: Chris Fowler
chris@mintpr.co.uk
44-020-894-68886
Research Australia
Source:Eurekalert

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