Africa to Pilot World’s First Malaria Vaccine

Africa to Pilot World’s First Malaria VaccineAfrica to Pilot World’s First Malaria Vaccine

Funding for phase one of pilot deployments of the world’s first malaria vaccine in sub-Saharan Africa has been secured and immunization campaigns will begin in 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. The vaccine, known as RTS,S or Mosquirix and developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, is only partially effective and needs to be given in a four-dose schedule, but is the first approved shot against the mosquito-borne disease. The WHO said last year that while RTS,S was promising, it should be deployed only on a pilot basis before any wide-scale use, given its limited efficacy, Reuters reported. Pedro Alonso, director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Program, said that securing funding and being able to trial the vaccine in Africa pilots would be a milestone in the fight against malaria. Malaria infects 200 million people a year worldwide and killed an estimated 440,000 in 2015, the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa.

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