World Health Organisation
The vaccine, named Mosquirix, was given the green light on Friday after more than 30 years of research, detailed in 230,000 pages of data. It now means that the vaccine will be examined by the World Health Organisation and, if approved, could be administered to children across Africa within the next few years.
Malaria mortality rate
“Pretty much every health minister I speak to has had malaria,” said Dr Pamba, who was born in Kenya and now works between Nairobi and London. “They all want to know when it will be ready.”
Mosquirix, whose scientific name is “RTS,S” has been designed to prevent malaria caused by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. It is the first vaccine to be developed which counters the effects of a parasite.
The vaccine is designed to prevent the parasite from infecting, maturing and multiplying in the liver, after which time the parasite would re-enter the bloodstream and infect red blood cells, leading to disease symptoms.
The developers carried out a trial programme involving more than 16,000 young children, conducted by 13 African research centres in eight African countries – Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Tanzania.
Two groups of children were tested: infants aged from six to 12 weeks, and young children aged five to 17 months.
Data from the trial programme demonstrate that over the first 18 months following three doses of RTS,S, malaria cases were reduced by almost half in the older group. With infants, cases dropped by 27 per cent.
Where does malaria kill the most people?