First malaria vaccine could be available by next year

GlaxoSmithKline submits application to European Medicines Agency for assessment

GlaxoSmithKline has spent 30 years developing a vaccine to prevent Malaria, a tropical disease mainly spread by mosquitoes. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

GlaxoSmithKline has spent 30 years developing a vaccine to prevent Malaria, a tropical disease mainly spread by mosquitoes. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 16:07

A British drug maker has come a step closer to making the world’s first malaria vaccine available for use.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has submitted an application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) who will assess the RTS,S medication.

The quality and safety of the immunisation will be considered in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), who have indicated it could recommend its use by the end of next year if the vaccine is given the green light by regulators.

Dr Sophie Biernaux, head of GSK’s malaria vaccine franchise, said: “This is a key moment in GSK’s 30-year journey to develop RTS,S and brings us a step closer to making available the world’s first vaccine that can help protect children in Africa from malaria.”

The EMA submission, which includes data from research which featured over 16,000 children in Africa, is the first step in the regulatory process.

Malaria is a tropical disease mainly spread by mosquitoes.

The latest WHO figures show there were about 207 million cases of malaria in 2012 and an estimated 627,000 deaths.

Most fatalities occur among children living in Africa, where a child dies every minute from malaria.