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1st malaria vaccine tried out in babies in 3 African nations

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Posted at 4:08 PM, Jan 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-16 16:08:59-05

Malaria is one of the world’s deadliest and most stubborn diseases. Now, babies in three African nations are getting the first vaccine for malaria in an unusual pilot program.

In this photo taken Tuesday Dec. 10, 2019, residents of the Malawi village of Migowi leave after their young children became test subjects for the world’s first vaccine against malaria. Babies in three African nations are getting the first and only vaccine for malaria in a pilot program. World health officials want to see how well the vaccine works in Malawi, Ghana and Kenya before recommending its wider use. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Unlike established vaccines that offer near-complete protection, this one is only about 40% effective. But experts say it’s worth a try as progress in fighting malaria stalls.

The mosquito-borne disease kills more than 400,000 people every year. Two-thirds are children are under age 5, and most are in Africa.

Related: World’s first malaria vaccine to go to 360,000 African children 

Health officials want to see how well the vaccine works in Malawi, Ghana and Kenya before recommending wider use.