Manuel Elkin Patarroyo Colfavac announced that the vaccine will be tested in humans in Africa.
After 35 years of research, the Colombian scientist Manuel Elkin Patarroyo and his team at the Institute of Immunology of Colombia (FIDIC) s Foundation and ready for human testing its new vaccine against malaria in seven countries in sub – Saharan Africa.
The announcement was made at the Second International Conference on Research and Vaccine Development, organized by United Scientific Group US, Rosario University, the University of Applied and Environmental Sciences (UDCA) and FIDIC, which took place in Cartagena last week and was attended by more than 150 scientists from 24 countries.
In the event where global progress is presented in immunizations for diseases such as zika, the chikungunya and tuberculosis scientific community endorsed the results of the vaccine of Patarroyo, in the laboratory offers consistently, protection 81.7 percent against the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which causes most cases of malaria.
The vaccine, which from now on will be called Colombian Falciparum Vaccine (Colfavac) was made from the synthetic model, created by the Colombian immunologist based on the identification and production of chemical particles parasite that promote defense responses that are activated in It invades the body when the body. According to Patarroyo, the fundamental difference of this vaccine with others that have been tried for the same purpose “is that while other groups of researchers setto find vaccines using biological methods, ie working with live parasites, mutated, modified or inactivated, we follow a completely different, own and unexplored path that led to the results mentioned above: the chemical”he says.
Although the trials have been done in monkeys Aotus, experts say the results at this level are the highest achieved so far. “The results obtained so far by Manuel, of which I am a witness for many years ago, are spectacular, outside series, “said Ana Fliser, former president of the International Congress of Parasitology.
All steps have been taken in pursuit of this vaccine they have been published since 1989 in journals of high scientific impact, such as Nature, Chemical Reviews and Account of Chemical Researach. “Here we are not improvising or offering anything that
has not been backed by logic and sequence pairs of very high level,” emphasizes Patarroyo.
That coincides Jorge Kalil, director of Butatan Institute of Brazil and former president of the International Congress of Immunology, who says that 25 years ago knows the work of FIDIC and are sure that you are on the right track, “while we’re doing it same, “he stresses, referring to the use of chemical principles to manufacture vaccines.
The ultimate challenge
While the group has focused on FIDIC reach 100 percent of the effectiveness of this vaccine in the laboratory, some feel that this is already a fact given the advances presented, because the bases are given. “There is much to find, out of the results of Professor Patarroyo,” said Belkis de Noya, director of the Institute of Parasitology Felix Piper of Venezuela.
But the acid test for this process over three decades are the results in humans, much more when projects have the same objective as the publicized vaccine RTS-SAS01 malaria, developed with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation after an investment of several million dollars, it did not get the expected results, as published by the New England journal of Medicine in June. To that disappointing outcomes as those achieved with vaccines intended to protect against tuberculosis and AIDS they are added.
Therefore, the scientific world is waiting in front of the call made by the governments of Senegal and Ghana for the implementation of the Colfavac in those countries started, request also made by five nations. “We are expecting soon begin vaccinations Professor Patarroyo and his team, ” said Kwadwo Koram, director of the Noguchi Institute of the University of Ghana.
This vaccine is a pioneer not only for the impact on global public health -because malaria affects 214 million people each year, leaving around 438,000 dead in the same period – also by how it developed.
So far, despite the efforts of researchers around the world, it has not been possible to achieve an effective vaccine against this disease, among other reasons because it has been difficult to identify the mechanism by which the parasite tricks the body so that it does not generate the necessary defenses against them.
For three and a half decades, Patarroyo and his group concentrated on deciphering the process; to achieve they had to search elementary particles or molecules that affect the microorganism cells.
That done, the reproduced in the laboratory one by one, they made changes and eliminated those with ability to mutate, so they could not blend and the agency was able to identify and create defenses against them.
“Thus says Patarroyo-, when the parasite is inoculated by the mosquito Anopheles, the vaccine can prevent body, as has been achieved in the work with monkeys, progresses in the body.”
Gustavo Quintero, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the Universidad del Rosario institution that since 2009 supports and co-finances research Fidic- vaccines, says that “the world has never been so close to having a vaccine to combat chemical a problem of global public health, such as malaria. ”
A disease that can kill Malaria is a disease caused by the parasite Plasmodium ‘, which is inoculated through the bite of the mosquito Anopheles’ , endemic in tropical countries. It can also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy and through transfusions of infected blood.
Those affected with fever, sweating, nausea and vomiting, headaches and muscle and bloody stools; Sometimes, this disease can progress to affect the entire body and cause death.
According to a report by the World Health Organization on this issue, the number of new cases worldwide fell from an estimated 262 million in 2000 to 214 million in 2015.
Last year, malaria because some 438,000 people were killed, mostly in Africa (89 percent of deaths) and Southeast Asia.
It is estimated that 3,200 million people (i.e, almost half of humans) are exposed to this evil. Until today, treatment is based on the administration of antimalarial drugs and measures to curb the proliferation of the mosquito.
Seven countries already asked to host the application
Governments and health authorities in Ghana, Senegal, Cape Verde, Angola and Equatorial Guinea took the lead against the trials of the vaccine, and offered to host these early trials. They Ethiopia and Mozambique, which are confirmation process would be added. It is African nations in developing and who have suffered the scourge of infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS and Ebola , decimating their populations and subtract them millions of years of healthy life, which perpetuates cycles poverty.
It is not free to follow closely the results of research in the world can offer solutions to these problems; that is to say that for decades, research Patarroyo and his team FIDIC has been published in major science journals in the world.
Claudia Turbay, Colombian Ambassador to Ghana, managed the displacement of the researcher to that country, in order to visit to know their status and engage in dialogue with the authorities, in the end, through the Presidency and the ministries of Health and Relationships Affairs of that country, unanimously supported the research.
Similarly, the president of Senegal, Macky Sall, through its Health Minister Awa Marie Coll-Seck, invited scientists FIDIC; Dean of Medicine of Rosario, Gustavo Quintero, and Spanish researchers from the Atlantic platform, so that next year begin to organize all the logistics related to the tests.
Prime Minister of Cape Verde met with Patarroyo in Canary Islands (Spain) and agreed that in early 2017 the preliminary trials would begin in the archipelago. Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon also conducted approaches of this type with FIDIC and Rosario to move to those countries.
It is worth noting that researchers from the countries that will host the tests were present in Cartagena to finalize agreements.
According to Quintero, most likely at the end of the first half of 2017 are starting rehearsals. “The Rosary accompany the professor Patarroyo in this phase of implementation of the vaccine, with the support of the Spanish universities Carlos III and Salamanca, with those that have already established partnerships,” he said.
Patarroyo not hide the satisfaction that makes you reach this stage: “This is the most controversial, attacked and denigrated vaccination of all time.There is no other like it in history, perhaps because it is the newest “he said.
CARLOS FRANCISCO FERNÁNDEZ
Medical Editor of TIME