Malawi launchs pilot tests for world’s first malaria vaccine “RTS-S”
The Government of Malawi has launched the pilot tests for the world’s first malaria vaccine – RTS,S (or Mosquirix) -to give partial protection to children up to 2 years of age. The other two African countries – Ghana and Kenya – will introduce the vaccine in the coming weeks. This move is part of World Health Organization (WHO)-coordinated three country pilot programme where the risk of malaria is high and there has been previous success with other childhood vaccines. It aims to reach 360,000 children per year across the three countries. The vaccine has been developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. According to WHO, Malaria kills some 435,000 people around the world each year, the majority of them children. Most of these deaths are in Africa, where more than 250,000 children die from the disease every year.