The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that it has been given the green light to test the first malaria vaccine in the real-world settings in 2018.
The apex health organization, while making the announcement on Monday; the eve of World Malaria Day, declared that the new vaccine will be tested in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi starting next year.
Malaria remains one of the world’s most stubborn health challenges, infecting more than 200 million people every year and killing about half a million.
Africa is known to be the continent with the highest number of malaria cases.
It is understood that the vaccine will be tested on children between five to 17 months old to see whether its protective effects shown so far in clinical trials can hold up under real-life conditions.
There has been enormous progress in fighting the disease. From 2000 to 2015, there was a 62% reduction in malaria deaths, according to the WHO, and a 21% reduction in the number of cases.
There have been fewer deaths in large part because of better mosquito control and disease awareness, as well as sustained effort to get the right medicine to the right populations, experts said.
Speaking on the development, Dr. Photini Sinnis, a deputy director at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute and professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said “this is great news, actually.”
“This is a vaccine that has the capability to make a real difference,” Sinnis said. In phase 3, it was tried in 11,000 children in sub-Saharan Africa, and it decreased mortality by almost 50%: That’s thousands of lives saved. “You can’t argue with that success.”
The vaccine, RTS,S, also known as Mosquirix, was created by scientists at GSK in 1987.