The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended the use of GlaxoSmithKline’s malaria vaccine in children living in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions with moderate to high malaria transmission.

In a statement, GSK welcomed the WHO recommendation, saying its RTS,S vaccine “is the first and only malaria vaccine to have been shown in pivotal long-term clinical trials to significantly reduce malaria in children”.

The WHO recommendation followed successful malaria vaccine pilot programmes in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi and new data which showed that RTS,S, in combination with seasonal administration of antimalarials, lowers clinical episodes of malaria, hospital admissions with severe malaria and deaths by around 70%, GSK said.

Thomas Breuer, chief global health officer at GSK, said: “This long-awaited landmark decision can reinvigorate the fight against malaria in the region at a time when progress on malaria control has stalled.

Both real world evidence and clinical trial data show that RTS,S, alongside other malaria prevention measures, has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives.”

GSK said it has committed to supply up to 15 million vaccine doses annually, available at no more than 5% above cost of production.

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