Malaria vaccines have been in the headlines once again, raising hopes that a vaccine that can prevent or even eradicate the disease is not far around the corner. But most scientists are more wary than the mainstream press that faithfully covers the hype if not contributes to it. Some of that wariness comes across clearly in an article in Nature News that raises questions about why GlaxoSmithKline published partial trial results for its RTS,S vaccine, and comments on the restraint Bill Gates exercised in announcing them. The story can be found @ http://www.nature.com/news/malaria-vaccine-results-face-scrutiny-1.9257
I had dinner with Steve Hoffman and Kim Lee Sim last week and we discussed this. Steve, who is the CEO of Sanaria and a developer of a rival vaccine based on live attenuated sporozoites is quoted in the Nature News article. While acknowledging the progress the trial results represent, and praising the unprecedented cooperation with African scientists, he seemed buoyed by the knowledge that his own vaccine is potentially much more effective even though it won’t be first to market.
I wrote extensively about Steve in my book The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men @ http://www.amazon.com/Imaginations-Unreasonable-Men-Inspiration-Purpose/dp/1586487647/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1303909402&sr=1-1 which documented the relentless rollercoaster of ups and downs that go hand in hand with trying to do something that’s never been done before. With as many as six different clinical trials of his vaccine taking place around the world, and a trial of his vaccine being administered via IV just beginning in the U.S., Steve can expect more of the same. That he persists is a testament to both his imagination and his unreasonableness, in the best sense of the word. And afterall, this is what scientific research is all about.