- Seven African countries will take part in a historic malaria vaccine trials, as the world scientists strive to root out Africa’s number one killer.
The GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals' (GSK Bio) RTS,S trial which is expected to involve up to 16,000 children in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania is on schedule, with more than 5,000 children already enrolled, according to the researchers.
The medication is the first malaria vaccine candidate to demonstrate significant efficacy during early development to warrant Phase III testing.
According to the researchers, attending the 5th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Pan-African Malaria Conference held in Nairobi recently, a malaria vaccine has eluded scientists for decades, yet it is widely believed that only a vaccine can help eradicate the disease.
If successful, the vaccine will complement existing interventions, such as treated bed nets and effective drug therapies.
Researchers said RTS,S is the first vaccine designed primarily for use in Africa, where malaria kills thousands of people every year, the majority of them children under the age of five.
Conducting the trial in seven different countries across Sub-Saharan Africa would help researchers to evaluate the vaccine candidate's efficacy in a variety of settings, with diverse patterns of malaria transmission.
The vaccine profile is intended primarily for infants, as they and children under the age of five are the most vulnerable to malaria.
Malaria, a preventable and treatable disease, is one of the biggest killers of young children in Africa. Overall, the disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, kills an estimated 1 million people annually, the vast majority of them in Africa.
One of the most effective preventive measures against malaria is to sleep under insecticide-treated bed nets, which are a finely woven barrier and kill most mosquitoes upon contact.
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