October 19, 2011
Millions of children’s lives could be saved by a new vaccine shown to halve the risk of malaria in the first large-scale trials across seven African countries.
The long-awaited results of the largest-ever malaria vaccine study, involving 15,460 babies and small children, show that it could massively reduce the impact of the much-feared killer disease. Malaria takes nearly 800,000 lives a year – mostly children under five. It damages many more.
The vaccine has been in development for two decades – the brainchild of scientists at the UK drug company GlaxoSmithKline, which has promised to sell it at no more than a fraction over cost-price, with the excess being ploughed back into further tropical disease research.
“This data brings us to the cusp of having the world’s first malaria vaccine, which has the potential to significantly improve the outlook for children living in malaria endemic regions across Africa,” said GSK’s chief executive, Andrew Witty.