In sub-Saharan Africa, more than a quarter million children under the age of five die every year from Malaria. Statistics marking this life-threatening disease may soon decrease, however, as a vaccine against malaria was recently approved by a European medical agency for use in Africa.
European regulators examined phase III clinical trial results involving more than 16,000 young children. Their tests were conducted by research centers in eight Africa countries, including Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Tanzania.
The remedy, RTS,S (also known as Mosquirix) was administered to children aged 6 weeks to 17 months in three doses. Over the first 18 months following three doses of RTS, S, malaria cases were reduced by almost half in children aged 5-17 months at the time of the first vaccination, and by 27% in infants aged 6-12 weeks.
By the end of the study, four years of follow-up in children RTS,S reduced malaria cases by 39%, and by 27% over three years of follow-up in infants. In areas experiencing the highest incidences of malaria, more than 6,000 clinical malaria cases were prevented over the study period for every 1,000 children vaccinated.*
When the disease first enters the human host's bloodstream or liver, RTS,S triggers the body's immune system to defend against the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite.
The entire world is embracing this positive news, as it is the first time anyone has ever been able to make a vaccine against a parasite.
"It's absolutely an astonishing day," GlaxoSmithKline's Vice President for Africa told CNN.