There is hope that by 2015 children aged between six and 12 weeks in Malawi will have a vaccine against malaria as study trials have shown the vaccine is satisfactorily effective.
A site principal investigator in the trials, Professor Francis Martinson of the University of North Carolina (UNC) campus in Lilongwe, was speaking on Friday when he presented results of the ongoing malaria trial vaccine named RTS,S.
â€œWhen administered along with standard childhood vaccines, the efficacy of RTS,S in infants aged six to eight weeks [at first vaccination] against clinical and severe malaria was 31 percent and 37 percent, respectively over 12 months of follow-up after the third vaccine dose,â€ he said.
Martison said the efficacy is lower than that of last year from a similar trial done in older children aged between five and 17 months.
In Malawi, malaria accounts for a minimum of 40 percent of all deaths in children below the age of two.
â€œAn effective malaria vaccine would be a welcome addition to our tool kit and we have been working toward this goal with RTS,S trial,â€ he said.
RTS,S is a name given to the malaria vaccine candidate and represents the composition of the vaccine and aims to trigger the immune system to defend against malaria causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
Current efforts by the country in fighting malaria include use of long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spray.