Malaria jab trial "could save tens of thousands of lives"

Listen /

UN health experts believe the new vaccine can help save tens of thousands of lives when used alongside existing prevention methods, such as insecticide-impregnated bednets. Photo: UNICEF: Adenike Ademuyiwa

The world's first malaria vaccine is to be trialled on children in three African countries: Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

Announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, the jab provides protection from the most deadly form of the disease.

Around 430,000 people died of malaria in 2015, the majority of them youngsters in Africa.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The UN health agency says that the vaccine could help save tens of thousands of lives in Africa, which bears the greatest burden of malaria worldwide.

The jab is to be given to children aged five to 17 months in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, beginning in mid-2018.

These three countries were chosen because they continue to see high rates of infection despite their well-functioning anti-malaria programmes.

The injectable vaccine, known as RTS,S, was developed to protect young children from the most deadly form of malaria, caused by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite.

Although the vaccine is the only malaria drug to have successfully completed a series of clinical trials, it still needs to be injected four times before it is fully effective.

How feasible that is will be one of the things that is tested before the vaccine is made available more widely, through routine national immunization programmes.

Here's WHO's Mary Hamel speaking from Nairobi Kenya:

"We'll use these pilots to understand better how to reach children with these four doses of this vaccine and in the real-life setting see how the vaccine can really impact severe malaria and mortality."

The near US $ 50 million cost of the first phase of this pilot programme is being met by a range of WHO partners including GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UNITAID.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1'23"

 

Filed under Today's News.
UN Radio Daily News Programme
UN Radio Daily News Programme
Updated at 1800 GMT, Monday to Friday
Loading the player ...

CONNECT

 

October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031