The world’s first malaria vaccine immunisation campaign is to commence in 2018 and funds for the phase one of the pilot deployment of the vaccine in Sub-Saharan Africa had been secured.
A release by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to the Ghana News Agency said the assurance comes after the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria had approved 15 million 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 the British drugmaker 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 part-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 was given its limited efficacy.
Pedro Alonso, the Director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme, said: “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”.
Earlier this year, the GAVI Vaccine Alliance and UNITAID announced commitments of up to 27.5 million dollars and 9.6 million dollars respectively for the first four years of the programme.
Malaria infects around 200 million people a year worldwide and killed an estimated 440,000 in 2015. The vast majority of malaria deaths are among babies in sub-Saharan Africa.