The world’s first malaria vaccine got a green light on Friday from European drugs regulators who recommended it as safe and effective to use in babies in Africa at risk of the mosquito-borne disease.
The shot, called Mosquirix and developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, would be the first licensed human vaccine against a parasitic disease and could help to prevent millions of cases of the killer disease in countries that use it.
“We need to think closely about how best to add – and if to add – a malaria vaccine across certain malaria endemic areas.”
Rew Witty, GSK’s chief executive, said the European Medicines Agency’s positive opinion was an important step towards making the world’s first malaria vaccine available.
“While RTS,S on its own is not the complete answer to malaria, its use alongside those interventions … such as bed nets and insecticides would provide a very meaningful contribution to controlling the impact of malaria on children in those African communities that need it the most,” he said.
Global health experts have long hoped scientists would be able to develop an effective malaria vaccine, and researchers at GSK have been working on RTS,S for 30 years.
A GSK scientist who has led the development of Mosquirix since 1987, said on he had no doubt the vaccine could significantly reduce the toll of sickness and death caused by the malaria among African children.