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World’s First Malaria Vaccine Approved by European Drug Regulators

28/07/2015

World’s First Malaria Vaccine Approved by European Drug RegulatorsMalaria kills more than half a million people every year, most of whom are children in Africa. But now, a new vaccine, known as RTS,S, has taken the first step to becoming the first licensed Malaria vaccine.

The quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine have been assessed by the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), which has concluded that it should be given to children in Africa aged 6 weeks to 17 months.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will now review the vaccine further later this year and make a decision whether it should be recommended for use.

Approximately 90% of all Malaria deaths each year occur in Africa and 77% of these are in children under five years of age.

At present, the most effective preventative measures in Africa to protect against Malaria are bed nets and insecticides which lower the risk of being bitten by a mosquito. Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), which have to be administered within 24-hours of a fever appearing, are also used to combat Malaria.

If it wins approval, however, the RTS,S vaccine could be used in conjunction with existing Malaria-prevention measures to further bolster Malaria defences.

Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK – which manufactures RTS,S - said: "While RTS,S on its own is not the complete answer to malaria, its use alongside those interventions currently available 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."

 

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Photo credit: The Wall Street Journal 
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