The World Health Organization is expected to make a decision soon about the fate of a 20 year drug research and testing period that has produced the world’s first workable malaria vaccine. AllAfrica reports the vaccine will initially be available for toddlers and children after a four year study found an initial dose and booster of the drug, RTS, cut malaria rates by 36 percent amongst those vaccinated. Although the potency and effectiveness of the vaccination are thought to decrease over time the vaccination has been successful enough for GlaxoSmithKline to apply for a license from the European Medicines Agency.
If the EMA provides a positive response to the vaccination the chances of the WHO approving the drug for use across Africa would be increased and an October date is being mentioned a the start of a vaccination program in Nigeria. Brazilian businessman Fersen Lambranho thinks this is exciting news. Despite the drug having some success it is not thought to perform particularly well in younger children and the success of booster shots after the initial vaccination has taken place are also thought to be of little value. Despite the problems facing the vaccine it is thought to play an important role in any multi pronged approach to fighting malaria across the continent of Africa.