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Medical experts have hailed a malaria vaccine that will prevent millions of young children from catching the disease, which could be available in October after trial results found that it reduces number of cases by half.

Researchers say the vaccine, which has just completed the final stages of testing, could make a ‘substantial contribution’ to controlling the disease.

Drug firm, GlaxoSmithKline has applied for a licence from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the RTS,S vaccine. The news is significant because RTS,S is the first malaria vaccine to reach advanced trials.

By Chukwuma Muanya @ AllAfrica.com via the Guardian

Tests were carried out on 15,500 toddlers and babies in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the study published in The Lancet journal, among those who had three doses of RTS,S and a booster shot, the number of clinical cases of malaria – those confirmed by a doctor – was reduced by 36 per cent after four years.

But the protection waned over time, boosters worked less well than the initial dose and the vaccine was not as effective in younger children. Scientists have worked on the vaccine for more than 20 years – at a cost of more than £330 million, but experts say there is a long way to go.

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