Malaria kills about 780,000 people a year, and most of them are children in Africa. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made eradication of the disease a top priority. On Tuesday, the organization touted the results of a study that showed a vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline protected nearly 50 percent children from severe malaria. As far a success rates for vaccines go, those are not the best odds, but even that amount of protection would save millions of lives over a even just a decade of use. And the news does indicate that scientists are on the right path toward eventually preventing malaria.
But Nathan Ford, medical director for Doctors Without Borders warns about the possibility that by focusing too much on this promising research, the global donor community might forget about the standard preventative measures, like mosquito netting and spraying, that still need to be funded until a vaccine is 100 percent effective.