Malaria vaccine may be ready by 2010

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Maputo - The first vaccine against malaria could be on the market by 2010 following trials in Mozambique, the southern African country's deputy health minister told an international conference on Tuesday.

"We think the first malaria vaccine will be available by 2010 if the tests in Manhica (north of the capital Maputo) are effective," Aida Libombo told the gathering of health professionals.

"We hope that the future vaccine will benefit the local population and be affordable," the minister said, adding it would cost about $60-million to develop it.

Mozambican officials announced in July 2002 that they had begun testing a drug that could be developed into a malaria vaccine on several people.

Some four million Mozambicans suffer from malaria every year on an average, according to the health ministry. One out of 10 patients eventually die.

Mozambique spends about six million dollars every year in efforts to fight malaria.

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