Will the Malaria Vaccine Save the Lives of African Children?

Colin Cable

By Dr Colin Cable, RPS Assistant Chief Scientist

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted to humans as a result of bites from infected mosquitos. Currently, the control of malaria centres on prophylactic measures mainly to prevent mosquito bites such as using mosquito repellent, covering the arms and legs and using mosquito nets while sleeping as well as taking antimalarial tablets. In the event of an infection by the malarial parasite, the antimalarial tablets should kill the parasitic although increasingly, just as with antibiotics and bacteria, the parasite is becoming resistant to many of the currently available antimalarials.

Despite all these possible precautions, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that, each year, malaria kills over half a million people, with about 90% of deaths occurring in Africa, mainly in children, mostly under the age of 5 years. The reason for these large numbers of deaths is simple – the costs of the preventative measures are too high. So, for many years researchers have searched for a cheap and effective vaccine to protect the vulnerable against the malarial parasite.

Recently, after many years of research, in July this year a vaccine (the first against a parasite) received a positive assessment by the European Medicines Agency. This approval was in spite of the vaccine having only limited efficacy in children, and the need for 3 doses plus a booster dose – something which will prove a major challenge in Africa. However, in spite of these drawbacks, this vaccine has the potential to save the lives of many African children. WHO is currently considering how to best use the malaria vaccine in Africa to save as many children’s lives as possible. A decision is expected in October.

The RPS will be hosting a Science Café at the PharmSci 2015 conference where the motion to be debated is ‘This House believes that the World Health Organisation must make vaccination against malaria compulsory for all children in Africa’. Come and hear what Prof Yvonne Perrie, MPharmS, has to say in support of the motion and the arguments against from Prof Don Cairns, MRPharmS,. If you were living in Africa, how would you feel if your child was forced to have this new malaria vaccine? If you have views or opinions you would like to share on the use of the malaria vaccine, come along to what should be an informal but lively debate at 0815 on Tuesday 8 September at the PharmSci 2015 conference at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham.

If you wish to register for the PharmSci 2015 Conference, you can do so at: http://www.ukpharmsci.org/register/default.asp

Why the Scottish Seminar is necessary for change


By Johnathan Laird, MRPharmS, Pharmacy Manager from Turriff, Aberdeenshire and Scottish Finalist in the I Love My Pharmacist competition. You can follow Johnathan at @JohnathanLaird.

In Scotland, change is a word that has resonated politically in recent months and years. Whatever side of the political spectrum you find yourself on the one thing that is probable is that your level of engagement is greater than before.

If you have not already heard, in Scotland we have a vision for pharmacy called Prescription for Excellence. This is a vision for pharmacy that puts a firm emphasis on professional innovation and partnership to deliver the best possible pharmaceutical care for patients. Read more Why the Scottish Seminar is necessary for change

Seven essential services for Recently Qualified Pharmacists

Daniel Sutcliffe

After finishing the pre-reg exam and joining the register I took some time to relax and reflect on five years of hard work. Becoming a recently qualified pharmacist is an exciting time in your career, a great many doors are suddenly opened for us and the opportunities available are endless.

It’s always good to have access to additional support to help navigate the various obstacles and opportunities that present themselves along the way. Fortunately membership of the RPS brings with it many benefits, which are especially relevant for us recently qualified pharmacists. I’ve complied the various resources I’ve found most useful to form a list of seven essential services in the hope it will help you.

Read more Seven essential services for Recently Qualified Pharmacists

Now is the time to stand out! Why students should attend the RPS Annual Conference

Yasmin blogYasmin Bayatpoor, pharmacy student.

We all know that one of the main and most asked questions in summer placement and pre-reg interviews concerns recent healthcare news and events in pharmacy. RPS conferences are the main way to demonstrate your enthusiasm and engagement with this almost guaranteed topic.
Read more Now is the time to stand out! Why students should attend the RPS Annual Conference