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Prefilled syringe with vaccine SPf66, Colombia, 1993

Brightly coloured pre-packed syringes were used in field trials of the vaccine SPf66 in Tanzania, Africa, in 1993, the first such trials to take place outside of Latin America. The first anti-malaria vaccine was produced in 1987 by Dr Manuel Patarroyo (b. 1946) and colleagues in Bogotá, Columbia. This is a sample. The bottle of vaccine was used in 1988 during the first Colombian field trials on military volunteers. The vaccine only offers protection from the deadliest strain of malaria, Plasmodium falciparum. Clinical trials of the vaccine were disappointing as it was found to be only thirty per cent effective against malaria. Despite this SPf66 is still the most effective vaccine developed against the disease. It is shown here with a bottled sample of vaccine SPf66 (1994-445).

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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.