The world's first malaria vaccine immunization campaign is to begin in 2018 and funds for phase one of the pilot deployment of the vaccine to be carried out in sub-Saharan Africa has been secured, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
A statement from the WHO received by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said the assurance on funding came after the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria approved 15 million US dollars for the malaria vaccine pilot, assuring full funding for the first phase of the programme.
The vaccine, known as Mosquirix or RTS,S and developed by British phamaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, is only partially effective and needs to be given in a four-dose schedule. It was developed in partnership with the non-profit PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and partly-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The WHO said while the new vaccine was promising, it should be deployed only on a pilot basis before any wide-scale use in view of its limited efficacy.
The statement quoted Pedro Alonso, the Director of the WHO's Global Malaria Programme, as saying: "Securing funding and being able to trial the vaccine in Africa would be a milestone in the fight against malaria.
"These pilot projects will provide the evidence we need from real-life settings to make informed decisions on whether to deploy the vaccine on a wide scale."
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK