On Saturday, March 7, the vaccination of the first three subjects of Malaria Vaccine PfSPZ took place, whose trials are held in Equatorial Guinea. This is a historic medical milestone in this project presented as one of the most advanced alternatives to end the disease.
On Saturday, March 7, 2015, after almost over two years of work, the first three volunteers were successfully injected with the vaccine PfSPZ in the Medical Center La Paz of Sipopo. The team that participated in this important medical event consisted of staff from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MSBS) of Equatorial Guinea; the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) in Tanzania; the Medical Center La Paz in Sipopo, as well as members of the biotechnology company of Maryland (USA), Sanaria Inc., who traveled to Malabo to train local staff and assist with the preparation and formulation of vaccines.
The PfSPZ vaccine (Pf for P. falciparum and SPZ for sporozoite, one of the stages of the parasite life) was elaborated by the American laboratory Sanaria Inc. It consists of weakened sporozoites, which can fully develop. When inoculated into a human body, the vaccine can generate a sufficiently strong immune response to protect the body against the bite of the parasite. In early tests, the drug has proved to be the safest and most effective possible vaccine to combat Malaria.
It is a project of enormous historical and social significance, given that so far it has not been possible to achieve an effective malaria vaccine, due to the complexity of the parasite and its ability to adapt and evolve. According to the World Health Organization, in 2013 there were no less than 198 million cases of malaria worldwide. Many of these are fatal.
Equatorial Guinea is leading the launch of this vaccine with support from the Government and through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy. Equally important is the contribution and support of the Program for Malaria, an NGO with financial support from the Ministry of Mines, and private companies working in Equatorial Guinea such as Marathon, Noble Energy, Atlantic Methanol and EGLNG.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea has invested considerable technical and material efforts to combat malaria. For example, the Executive invested approximately three million US dollars in 2013 for the Program to Combat Malaria, with which it has contributed decisively to the massive reduction of infection on the island of Bioko.
Following the success of vaccination, the heads of this medical team and institutions working on the project celebrated the event with a special ceremony, in which the heads of the various institutions expressed the importance of the moment and highlighted the work done.
The first PfSPZ vaccine trial in Equatorial Guinea will continue over the next year, with additional injections and follow-up visits.
Equatorial Guinea’s Press and Information Office