Hope grows for malaria vaccine in final trials
Final clinical trials of a possible world-first licensed vaccine for malaria suggest the jab has the "potential to prevent millions of cases", researchers have said.
In a report published in the Lancet medical journal, scientists said the drug could make a "substantial contribution" to controlling malaria, which kills hundreds of thousands every year.
An application has already been submitted to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which along with the World Health Organisation will assess the RTS,S medication being developed by GlaxoSmithKline.
Tests on around 15,500 toddlers and babies in seven sub-Saharan African countries suggested the vaccine, named RTS,S, was around 36pc effective for children aged between five and 17 months, but it waned over time and was not as effective in younger children.
The study split the children into three groups, giving one three doses, another three doses and a booster jab and the third a dummy shot, while monitoring their progress for four years between 2011 and 2014.
The study's author Brian Greenwood, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine admitted the vaccine was not "perfect".
He told Sky News: "Everyone accepts that this is not the perfect or the last malaria vaccine. It's not good enough to stop transmission but it will cut the huge burden of disease."
The latest WHO figures show there were about 198 million cases of malaria in 2013.