The Liberal National Government will support clinical trials to test the effectiveness of a world-first malaria vaccine in an attempt to globally eradicate the deadly disease.
Malaria is a condition that affects over two hundred million people each year, including thousands of Australians who acquire it while travelling.
Federal Member for Hasluck, Ken Wyatt MP, said Rotary clubs nationally have been fundraising for the Malaria Vaccine Project through a campaign known as Rotary Against Malaria.
“Rotary clubs have raised $500,000 and the Government will match this with funding of $500,000 towards the Malaria Vaccine Project, which has developed a new novel vaccine for the disease,” Mr Wyatt said.
“The next stage of the Malaria Vaccine Project is to conduct more extensive clinical trials in Australia that has the potential to save millions of lives.”
Last year 403 Australian cases of overseas-acquired malaria were reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt said funding will be provided to Griffith University through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to undertake clinical trials to test the effectiveness of the new malaria vaccine PlasProtect©.
“There have been many research efforts to control malaria through vaccine development, but they tend to be only partially effective,” Minister Hunt said.
“This new approach will differ by using the entire malaria parasite to develop the vaccine and holds great promise.”
“It has proven highly effective in animal trials and has been shown to be safe in humans, with the next step to undertake human clinical trials,” Minister Hunt said.
Over 450,000 people, mostly children and pregnant women, die each year of malaria.
Malaria is caused by an infection with malaria parasites, and is generally characterised by fever, shivering headaches and chills in the uncomplicated form.
Some population groups are at considerably higher risk of contracting malaria, and developing severe disease, than others.
These include infants, children under five years of age, pregnant women and patients with low levels of immunity.
According to the latest World malaria report 2018, there were 219 million cases of malaria in 2017, up from 217 million cases in 2016.
In addition to this latest funding, since 2016 more than $52 million has been provided to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to support research into malaria.