An effective vaccine against malaria has been developed and could be licensed by 2010. . . . The vaccine was used to protect 2,022 children in Mozambique and cut the risk of developing severe malaria by 58%. . . . Lead researcher Professor Pedro Alonso said: "These are clearly the best results we have ever seen with a candidate malaria vaccine. . . . We are quite certain not only that the vaccine is safe...but that we have seen a clear efficacy."
The team tested the trial vaccine, called RTS,S/AS02A, on children aged between one and four years old in Mozambique, where malaria is widespread.
Globally, over one million people, many of them children under the age of five, die from malaria each year. . . . Ninety percent of all malaria cases are in sub-Saharan Africa. . . .
At six months, the malaria vaccine had reduced a child's risk of developing one episode of malaria by 30%. . . . The risk of developing severe malaria was reduced by 58%. . . . the vaccine extended the time to first infection by 45%. . . . Among the under two year olds in the study, the vaccine was 77% effective against severe malaria. . . .
The research was funded by GSK Biologicals and a global project, created through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to overcome barriers to malaria vaccine development - the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. . . .
"Malaria is the number one killer of African children."
Bill Gates may run a company that makes buggy software, but his philanthropy has been in the best tradition of American plutarches. This vaccine could save 600,000 lives a year.