GlaxoSmithKline has launched the next phase of its malaria vaccine trial in seven African countries, working with its partner PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative to test its immunisation RTS,S.
The drug has been hailed as “the world’s most clinically advanced malaria vaccine candidate” and trials are expected to recruit 16,000 children in Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Gabon, with more than 5,000 already signed on.
The phase III trials will look at two groups of children and their interactions with the drug. One group will be given the vaccine along with their usual schedule of infant immunisations, and the other is composed of children aged five to 17 months.
Infants and children under the age of five are the most vulnerable to malaria, and the vaccine is targeted towards those age groups and is expected to be used mainly in Africa.
GlaxoSmithKline report that 800,000 people die of the disease in Africa every year, with the majority of them under the age of five, and the trial will use the different sub-Saharan trial countries to asses RTS,S’s efficacy in different settings that have different patterns of malaria transmission.
Copyright Press Association 2009