Lancet: Towards a malaria vaccine -- serious investment needed

April 22, 2010

The lead Editorial in this week's Lancet, ahead of World Malaria Day on April 25, calls for 'serious investment into a 'broad research and development strategy towards a malaria vaccine'. The Editorial welcomes the vaccine in development by GSK, which could be ready by 2013, but notes its 'modest and time-limited efficacy'.

The Editorial says: "This has been in development for about 20 years and has cost GSK £300 million with an extra £200 million covered by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Earlier this year, Andrew Witty, GSK's Chief Executive, pledged to price the vaccine at just 5% above cost and invest profits back into research for diseases in developing countries. Although a welcome gesture, this commitment simply does not begin to go far enough. And here the global community has remained dismayingly silent."

It concludes: "Bill Gates has pledged $20 billion for the decade of vaccines. There must be greater public commitment by the pharmaceutical industry to support not only this personal pledge, but also the desperate cries from countries to help solve one of their greatest health predicaments. WHO, the Global Fund, UNICEF, and others must speak loudly and demand true public-private partnerships on a far larger scale. We cannot afford to wait a further 20 years...It is now, not tomorrow, that the global health community must show more ambition and accountability in combating malaria beyond its current control targets."

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