The Limited Promise of a Malaria Vaccine

May 12, 2017 | 09:00 GMT

After delivering promising results in Phase III trials, a new malaria vaccine, Mosquirix, will enter use in a pilot program in Ghana, Malawi and Kenya in 2018. But shortcomings in the countries' health care sectors could limit the vaccine's efficacy.


Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the global centers of malaria, a disease endemic to the world's tropical regions. The illness continues to inflict suffering and sometimes death across the region -- infecting more than 200 million people annually, many under the age of 5 -- despite extensive efforts to target the mosquitoes that transmit it. The costs of fighting malaria, moreover, have proved burdensome for governments, and the effects of the disease itself can limit worker productivity, hampering economic growth. But after more than 30 years of development and trials, a promising vaccine against the disease is about to be put to the test in pilot programs in three African nations. In a recent testing phase, the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine RTS,S, known by its brand name, Mosquirix, demonstrated its potential to lessen at least some of the human and economic tolls malaria can cause. The first vaccine of its kind to advance...

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