World's First Malaria Vaccine Shows Promising Results
Malaria is a life-threatening disease that kills nearly 800,000 people a year worldwide, most of whom are children in Africa. GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s leading vaccine companies, has developed a new malaria vaccine known as RTS,S or Mosquirix that could reduce the risk of malaria infection. In a major clinical trial, the world’s first malaria vaccine was found to halve the risk of malaria in 5- to 17-month-old infants in Africa, where thousands of children die from malaria each year.
Preliminary results of the trial have shown that the initial malaria vaccine shots reduced the risk of children developing clinical malaria and severe malaria by 56 percent and 47 percent, respectively. The makers of the experimental vaccine are happy with the outcome of first shots of the vaccine. The chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, Andrew Witty, said that further efforts would be taken to increase the efficacy of the vaccine. He also said that GSK is committed to pricing the vaccine as low as possible.
Malaria is an endemic disease in around 100 countries. The RTS,S vaccine candidate is the first one of its kind against a parasite-borne infection and it took more than 25 years to develop—a significant milestone in the fight against malaria, a deadly disease. The trial is still going on and the results of the vaccine in 6- to 12-week-old infants are expected by the end of 2012. GSK hopes that the RTS,S vaccine could be made available for commercial use in 2015 if further results are positive.