The World Health Organisation confirmed yesterday November 17, 2016, that The world’s first malaria vaccine will be rolled out in pilot projects in sub-Saharan Africa and funding is now secured for the initial phase of the program and vaccinations are due to begin in 2018.
The vaccine, known as RTS,S, acts against P. falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite globally, and the most prevalent in Africa.The organization on its website confirmed that the financing and development of the vaccine will be done by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria which an approved US$ 15 million for the malaria vaccine pilots, assuring full funding for the first phase of the program. Earlier this year, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and UNITAID announced commitments of up to US$ 27.5 million and US$ 9.6 million, respectively, for the first 4 years of the vaccine program, the statement reads in part.
RTS,S is the first malaria vaccine to successfully complete pivotal Phase 3 testing. The Phase 3 trial enrolled more than 15,000 infants and young children in 7 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Countries that participated in Phase 3 clinical trials will be prioritized for inclusion in the WHO pilot program. Consultations are ongoing and the names of the 3 selected countries will be announced in the coming weeks.
There were 2 target age groups in the Phase 3 RTS,S trials:
- Infants who received the malaria vaccine together with other routine childhood vaccines at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age.
- Older children who received their first dose of the malaria vaccine between 5 and 17 months of age.
A vaccine will be a major breakthrough in the health domain as malaria is the number one killing disease in Sub-Saharan Africa especially amongst children