Finding the Chink in the Parasite's Armor

Shrinking malaria’s toll is a great health success of our time—but it still kills 430,000 people annually, 70% of them under 5.

The RTS,S vaccine is taking a stab at shrinking those numbers—set to be piloted on hundreds of thousands of children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi in 2018.

The 4-shot vaccine takes on malaria’s deadliest weapon, vaccine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum, through an elusive “weak spot in the parasite’s armor,” writes Geoffrey Carr. But it’s not infallible—the vaccine could perhaps save 1 child for every 200 immunized. In a 2014 RTS,S trial, recipients experienced around a 40% lower infection rate than the unvaccinated group.

The Economist

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