Ghana, Kenya and Malawi will pilot the world’s first malaria vaccine from 2018, offering it for babies and children in high-risk areas as part of real-life trials.
The World Health Organisation said in a statement on Monday that the injectable vaccine is called “Mosquirix”.
The WHO said the vaccines was developed by British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to protect children from the most deadly form of malaria in Africa.
In clinical trials, it proved only partially effective, and it needs to be given in a four-dose schedule, but is the first regulator-approved vaccine against the mosquito-borne disease.
The WHO pilot programme will assess whether the Mosquirix’s protective effect in children aged five to 17 months can be replicated in real-life.
It will also assess the feasibility of delivering the four doses needed, and explore the vaccine’s potential role in reducing the number of children killed by the disease.
The WHO said Malawi, Kenya and Ghana were chosen for the pilot due to several factors, including having high rates of malaria as well as good malaria programmes, wide use of bed-nets, and well-functioning immunisation programmes.
“Mosquirix” was developed by GSK in partnership with the non-profit PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and part-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The WHO said in November it had secured full funding for the first phase of the drugs pilots.