The world’s first vaccine against malaria that has been tested extensively in more than 15,000 children will be introduced in three countries – Ghana, Kenya and Malawi – starting in 2018.
The RTS,S vaccine trains the immune system to attack the malaria parasite, which is spread by mosquito bites.
The vaccine needs to be given four times – once a month for three months and then a fourth dose 18 months later.
This has been achieved in tightly controlled and well-funded clinical trials, but it is not yet clear if it can be done in the “real-world” where access to health care is limited.
So the WHO is running pilots in three countries to see if a full malaria vaccine programme could be started.