African countries chosen to test 1st malaria vaccine

The three countries were selected based on high coverage of long-lasting insecticidal-treated nets, well-functioning malaria and immunization programs, a high malaria burden even after increased use of nets and participation in the Phase III RTS.S clinical trial. And, if all goes well, the new malaria vaccine will affect children in the best possible way: By saving tens of thousands of lives when used in conjunction with other, existing preventive measures.

The vaccine will be given to children once a month for three months before a fourth dose 18 months later.

"The world's first malaria vaccine is a real achievement that has been 30 years in the making", said the chief executive of Gavi, Dr. Seth Berkley. The countries will deliver the vaccine through their existing vaccination programs.

Global efforts to reduce transmission have led to a two-thirds reduction in malaria deaths between 2000 and 2015.

More than 429,000 people lost their lives to the mosquito-borne illness in 2015, and hundreds of millions get sick with a malaria infection every year.

It said preventive treatment for infants, for example, which is safe, cost-effective and well accepted by health workers and communities, is now only being implemented in Sierra Leone.

According to the World Health Organization, the pilot programme will assess whether the Mosquirix's protective effect in children aged five to 17 months can be replicated in real-life.

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There has been enormous progress in fighting the disease. The injectable vaccine, known as "RTS, S", was developed to protect young children in Africa.

"Malaria places a bad burden on numerous world's poorest countries, claiming thousands of lives and holding back economies".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that about 1,500 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the US annually, usually from travelers or immigrants returning from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

"Mosquirix" was developed by GSK in partnership with the non-profit PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and part-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She argued that the data which was collected during the pilot program is bound to help the organization decide upon the wider use of the new vaccine. In 2015, the region was home to 90 per cent of malaria cases and 92 per cent of malaria deaths.

Meanwhile, the development of a malaria vaccine has ramped up with a number of exciting candidates emerging of late, including one that can be delivering through the skin with a microneedle patch and another that injects live malaria parasites into the human body.

The vaccine is called RTS, S and it is marketed under the trade name trade name Mosquirix by GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines (a subdivision of the global pharmaceutical company).

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