According to trials on children in Burkina Faso, malaria could be a thing of the past thanks to a highly effective vaccine that could cut down the death toll enough to envision eradicating the disease in Africa.
“What we’re hoping to do is take that 400,000 [annual deaths among small children] down to tens of thousands in the next five years, which would be absolutely fantastic,” says Prof Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute of Oxford University, and reach “a greater goal – eventually eradicating malaria.”
Over 12 months, 450 children in Burkina Faso, aged 5 to 17 months, took part in the trial, receiving a total of four doses. The results show that the vaccine meets the World Health Organization goal of 75% efficacy, so larger trials can begin on 4,800 children in four countries. The vaccine could be approved by the end of 2022 and largely distributed to save the lives of millions of children.