A vaccine that prevents Malaria could be available for people at risk within a year. The breakthrough will come as a relief to parents in parts of Africa where hundreds of thousands of children die from the disease each year.
Globally, the disease killed 584,000 people in 2013, according to the World Health Organization. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to most of the people who die of Malaria each year, and a large number of them are children.
The drug has just been recommended for use by the European Medicines Agency. This was the last scientific hurdle for the vaccine, and now it's up to the World Health Organization and GAVI (the Global Vaccine Alliance) to review the studies and decide how and when to roll it out. Local governments will also have to work with the international agencies to make the vaccine available, but GAVI is expected to provide the funds, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to TIME, the medicine, called Mosquirix, has been in tests for nearly 30 years, and though it still isn't guaranteed to work in every case, it will likely save a considerable number of lives. It takes three to four doses over the course of about a year and a half for the vaccination to take full effect.
Malaria is carried by a particular species of mosquito, and can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, needle sharing or organ transplants, the Centers for Disease Control tell us. Malaria can be cured if it's treated early and with the right anti-Malarial drugs, but these are not always accessible to children in Africa who are most at risk.