This year's World Malaria Day marks a critical moment in time as the international malaria community has less than a year to meet the 2010 targets of delivering effective and affordable protection and treatment to all people at risk of malaria.
Experts say a safe and effective vaccine is an important component of a comprehensive malaria control program.
The RTS,S malaria vaccine candidate was created in 1987 and is said to be the most clinically advanced in the world.
In clinical trials, scientists say, it was the first to demonstrate that it can protect young children and infants in malaria-endemic areas against infection and clinical disease caused by Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly species of the malaria parasite.
It is also the first vaccine designed primarily for use in Africa and is now undergoing Phase III trials in various countries on the continent
Infrastructure for vaccine research
Dr. Tsiri Agbenyega, a professor of Physiology and a medical doctor at the Komfo-Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi Ghana said the Phase III trials are very essential.
“Phase III is the phase you go through before you present your data to regulatory authorities for its licensing, he said.”
The Ghanaian doctor said running the trials have helped a lot in creating the infrastructure for further work in vaccine research.
He said when the vaccine finally reaches the market it will be made affordable for those who need it most.