July 29, 2015 / 6:35 PM / 4 years ago

GlaxoSmithKline sees staged roll-out of malaria vaccine

An airplane flies past a signage for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in London in this April 22, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - The world’s first malaria vaccine, which won a green light last week from European drugs regulators, will be rolled out gradually in Africa, its maker said on Wednesday.

“We believe that there should be a thoughtful, staged roll-out of this vaccine, particularly because it is important that we acquire more knowledge about where it really works the best,” GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Chief Executive Andrew Witty told reporters.

Experts also need to build up a bigger database on safety, he added, since it is the first time a vaccine will have been launched in Africa without any history of use in developed countries.

Mosquirix still faces hurdles before being made available in Africa, with a review pending at the World Health Organization (WHO). It also needs the support of governments and other funders, who will pay for it, suggesting it will not be in use before 2017, according to the WHO.

GSK will not make any profit from Mosquirix, since it will be priced at the cost of manufacture plus a 5 percent margin, which will be reinvested in research on malaria and other neglected tropical diseases.

However, some of the vaccine-boosting technology developed over the last 30 years to help with the malaria shot is now being used in other commercial projects, such as GSK’s new vaccine for shingles.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by David Holmes

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