GSK has filed for approval for what could potentially be the world’s first malaria vaccine.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is waiting on approval for what could be the world’s first malaria vaccine following trials in which children given the vaccine had a 46% lower incidence of malaria than those without.
The vaccine, RTS,S, works to protect the body against the most dangerous of the four species of the malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum. This parasite is most commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria kills more than 600,000 people each year, the majority of the victims being under five years old.
GSK has been developing the vaccine for three decades and has now submitted a marketing application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is hoped that approval from the EMA could prompt a positive response from the WHO and allow the vaccine to become available from as early as 2016.
Sophie Biernaux, head of GSK’s malaria vaccine project, 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.”