The WHO is closely working with Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi to facilitate regulatory authorization of the malaria vaccine for use in the pilot programs through the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum (AVAREF).
Malaria is a disease caused by parasites transmitted through infected mosquitoes, and it's now found in 91 countries and areas around the world, according to the WHO.
Since Africa is the continent that sees the highest number of malaria cases, the new vaccine will be tested in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi starting in 2018, which could make a significant dent.
The vaccine consists of three injections administered over the course of three months, followed by a final booster dose 18 months later. While the vaccine has achieved some success in tightly controlled laboratory experiments, researchers are unsure whether this will translate into effective control in the real world, which is why they are only running the pilot in three countries to begin with.
Large clinical trials in seven African countries between 2009 and 2014 showed that the vaccine helped protect children and infants from clinical malaria for at least three years after first vaccination. It will also continue to assess the safety and effectiveness of the vaccination.
A global effort to counter malaria has led to a 62% cut in deaths between 2000 and 2015, the World Health Organization said.
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Global efforts in the past 15 years have led to a 62 per cent reduction in malaria deaths between 2000 and 2015, yet approximately 429,000 people died of the disease in 2015, a majority of them being young children. "The current vaccine can do an very bad lot but it's not going to completely halt malaria transmission", he said.
The WHO pilot program will assess whether the Mosquirix's protective effect in children aged five to 17 months can be replicated in real-life.
According to the Economic Survey, malaria killed some 20,000 Kenyans previous year. Other regions have made substantial gains in their malaria responses, but the disease remains a major public health threat.
In fact, 90 percent of malaria cases and 92 percent of malaria deaths occur in Africa. As well as the direct funding from GSK, fudning for the vaccine has been supported by the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information look here What is the new vaccine?
While the malaria vaccine is not yet available in the United States, the Center for Disease Control describes several ways that malaria could be transmitted so the public may be aware.
The first stage of the pilot programme will cost $49.2 million and is being jointly funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; UNITAID; the World Health Organization; and GSK.