The first vaccine against malaria could be rolled out to billions of people after key advisers to the World Health Organisation (WHO) gave it the green light.
Experts on the WHO’s advisory bodies for immunisation and malaria concluded the vaccine Mosquirix could save tens of thousands of lives every year.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general, said he had started his career as a malaria researcher and had “longed for the day that we would have an effective vaccine against this ancient and terrible disease”.
He said: “Today is that day. An historic day. Today the WHO is recommending the broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine.
“This long-awaited malaria vaccine is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control. Using this vaccine in addition to existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”
The vaccine is now expected to get the nod from WHO itself and funding for millions of doses will then be considered by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which ensures low-income countries have access to life-saving jabs.