British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline is likely to start selling the world's first malaria vaccine next year after trial data proved its efficacy in reducing cases of the disease among African children. The vaccine known as RTSS almost halved the number of malaria cases among young children and reduced by 25% the number of malaria cases among infants. Based on these data, GSK will submi a regulatory application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO), has indicated that it may recommend the RTS,S vaccine from 2015 if EMA drugs regulators back its application.
Malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, kills millions a year, mainly in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and scientists say that an effective vaccine is the key to its eradication.
However, the landmark vaccine is likely to do almost nothing to GSK's bottom line. GSK has promised that if it is is given go-ahead, it will be priced at cost of manufacture plus a 5% margin, and the margin would be reinvested in malaria research.