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  1. ITV Report

Malawi starts 'landmark' pilot of first ever child malaria vaccine

There is, as yet, no fool-proof vaccination for malaria, but there is one that is licensed and offers some protection against the disease.

In what has been hailed as a "landmark moment" by the World Health Organisation, the east African country of Malawi is to become the first to try to immunise children against the deadly disease.

The large scale pilot of the world's first vaccine of malaria could save hundreds of thousands of lives.

The pilot will be launched in Malawi but will expand to Ghana and Kenya in the next few weeks.

The large scale pilot of the world's first vaccine of malaria could save hundreds of thousands of lives. Credit: ITV News

This vaccine isn't the only one and there are around 30 vaccinations being developed across the world.

219m
Cases of malaria in 2017, according to the World Heath Organisation.

Dr Kate O'Brien, the Director of Immunisation at World Health Organisation told ITV News: "There has been a lot of progress made with malaria in the past 15 years with a steady decline in malaria cases in deaths."

The Director of Immunisation at WHO said despite the progress made with malaria, it has come to a stall. Credit: ITV News

Dr O'Brien added: "But we have come to a point where we have seen a plateau where the progress made is beginning to stall or has stalled and so we know that this is the time where we desperately needed the tool."

40%
Chance of the immunisation being effective.

One of the UK's leading malaria's researchers, Dr Yaw Bediako, said the vaccine only offers real protection for up to four years.

Dr Yaw Bediako said he is cautious about this vaccine as it does not offer protection for long. Credit: ITV News

Dr Bediako said: "The real challenge the vaccine has or the fuel has is in achieving long-term protection or at least protection for long enough that we can actually see transmission at lower rates.

"That is why I'm cautious, if you can maintain 40% for many years, then you are onto something," he added.