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Bottle of synthetic malaria vaccine SPf66, Colombia, 1987

The first anti-malaria vaccine was produced in 1987 by Dr Manuel Patarroyo (b. 1946) and colleagues in Bogotá, Columbia. This is a sample of the vaccine produced. The vaccine only offers protection from a specific strain of malaria Plasmodium falciparum. Dr Patarroyo offered the patent of his synthetic vaccine to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1995 so it would be widely available at an affordable price. Unfortunately, clinical trials of the vaccine proved disappointing as it was found to be effective against malaria in only thirty per cent of cases.

Object number:

1994-443

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Glossary:

Glossary: vaccination

The introduction of vaccine into the body for the purpose of inducing immunity. Coined originally to apply to the injection of smallpox vaccine, the term has come to mean any immunising procedure in which vaccine is injected.

Glossary: malaria

Parasitic disease transmitted by certain kinds of mosquito. Malaria is characterized by fever and enlargement of the spleen. Each year, there are approximately 515 million cases of malaria, killing between one and three million people.

Glossary: vaccine

A substance given to humans or animals to improve immunity from disease. A vaccine can sometimes contain a small amount of bacteria that is designed to stimulate the body's reaction to that particular disease. The first vaccine was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner to prevent smallpox.

Glossary: synthetic

A substance that has been made artificially, i.e. one that does not come from a natural source. Nylon is an example of a synthetic fibre.