Colombia’s government are to support advanced research by the scientist who discovered the first malaria vaccine, reported local media Thursday.
Maunel Elkin Patarroy told Spanish news agency EFE he regretted reaching 2012 without the vaccine on the market, especially when there are so many people being affected by the disease all over the world.
Patarroy said the cure for malaria was a “Colombian project” when Alvaro Uribe was president but had “dissolved” and he was not sure “why current president Juan Maunel Santos had turned his back,” according to El Espectador.
The scientist suggested Santos was not aware of the importance of the vaccine.
The vaccine against malaria was developed at the Colombian Institute of Immunology with the support of private companies and academic institutions.
“There are 517 infectious diseases from which a human being can suffer, for which we have only 12 vaccines. It is a problem of universal dimension. It is my obsession and my passion. But people always talk about problems, and we should not forget the benefits, for example, the advantages which make it possible to set up an institute of this kind in Colombia,” Patarroyo said.
Patarroy first discovered the vaccine in 1986 and subsequently developed a second generation drug which cured the disease in 90% of laboratory test monkeys.
This latest drug was discovered in 2010 and can also be used to fight tuberculosis, the human papillomavirus, dengue, hepatitis C, leprosy, and other infectious diseases.
Malaria affects between 350 and 500 million people and causes more than one million deaths annually according to the UN.