GlaxoSmithKline, Health & Wellness, Malaria, vaccine -

British Company Seeks Approval for World’s First Malaria Vaccine

GlaxoSmithKline, Health & Wellness, Malaria, vaccine -

British Company Seeks Approval for World’s First Malaria Vaccine

mosquitoFor the last 30 years, British pharmaceuticals company GlaxoKlineSmith (GSK) has been working on an effective malaria vaccine. On Thursday, the company said it is applying for approval for the world’s first vaccine against malaria, designed for children in Africa.

This mosquito-borne disease kills more than 600,000 people per year, mostly infants, in the very poor sub-Saharan Africa.

The vaccine, known as RTS,S, will be exclusively used outside Europe, but the vaccine will be evaluated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Sophie Biernaux, head of GSK’s malaria vaccine franchise, told the Irish Times, “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.”

Malaria can bring flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea and malaise. In severe cases or for vulnerable patients such as infants and seniors, malaria can cause organ failure and may lead to death.

How effective the drug will be is a concern. Results from the final-stage trial in babies ages 6 to 12 weeks showed the shot provided only modest protection, reducing episodes of the disease by 30 percent, compared to immunization with a control vaccine.

CBC News reports that if RTS,S is approved, it is unlikely to be anything other than neutral for GSK’s bottom line. The firm has promised the drug will be priced at cost of manufacture plus a 5 percent margin, and the margin would be reinvested into research on malaria and other neglected tropical diseases.

S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on Twitter @ReporterandGirl, and visit her website at

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