Experts React To GSK’s Planned Filing For Approval Of Malaria Vaccine

“Experts in Africa, the continent worst-hit by malaria, reacted with optimism but also caution on Tuesday to news that the first vaccine against the killer disease may soon reach the market,” Agence France-Presse reports. “GlaxoSmithKline said it was seeking approval for a prototype vaccine that reduced the risk of malaria by almost half among children aged between five and 17 months, and by around a quarter among infants aged between six and 12 weeks,” according to the news agency, which notes “the vaccine could be rolled out within two years” if it is approved by the European Medicines Agency. AFP includes comments from Nilton Saraivo, a manager of Angola’s national anti-malaria program; Bertrand Lell of the Lambarene Centre for Medical Research; John Gikapa, a technical adviser to SANRU in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Lucas Otieno of the Kenya Medical Research Institute; and Martin de Smet, a malaria specialist with Médecins Sans Frontières (10/8). “Although the vaccine’s efficacy is far from ideal, some researchers contend that it could add a critical new tool to malaria prevention efforts,” ScienceNow reports. “In particular, a modestly effective vaccine combined with insecticide-treated bed nets, spraying efforts, and improved diagnostics could have an important additive effect,” the news service notes and includes comments from Richard Feachem, a malaria specialist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and David Kaslow, who heads the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, which is involved in the trials (Cohen, 10/8).