WHO says funds secured for Africa pilots of world’s first malaria vaccine

Friday, November 18, 2016

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.

 Pedro Alonso, director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme, said on Thursday that securing funding and being able to trial the vaccine in Africa pilots would be a milestone in the fight against malaria.

“These pilot projects will provide the evidence we need from real-life settings to make informed decisions on whether to deploy the vaccine on a wide scale,” he said. The go-ahead comes after the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Thursday approved $15 million for the malaria vaccine pilots, assuring full funding for the first phase of the programme.

Source: Reuters (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, public health