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WHO Recommends the First Malaria Vaccine For Children

Nov, 2021

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World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the world’s first malaria vaccine RTS, S, which is also known by the brand name Mosquirix.

Malaria is a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. The parasite transmits to human through the bites of infected mosquitoes. In sun-Saharan Africa Malaria remains a primary cause of childhood illness and death. Annual report says that more than 2,60,000 African children under the age of 5 die from Malaria. More than half of malaria deaths worldwide are in six sub-Saharan African countries and almost a quarter are in Nigeria alone, according to 2019 WHO reports. Symptoms includes fever, headaches and muscle pain, then cycles of chills fever and sweating.

Recently, the WHO recommended the RTS, S, vaccine, which is also known by the brand name Mosquirix, for the treatment of malaria in children. This is the world’s first malaria vaccine, which was recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of the global efforts to battle the deadly fever. The vaccine is expected to be launched in at least 2-3 years. “This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control”, said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”

The recommendation is based on the 2019 pilot program in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, that has reached more than 800,000 children. The world’s arsenal against malaria just got a fancy new bazooka. Earlier, GSK, PATH, and Bharat Biotech signed a product transfer agreement to help ensure long-term supply of RTS, S/AS01E malaria vaccine. In January 2021, Bharat Biotech announced to produce antigen for vaccine to help ensure long-term sustainable supply.

There are many vaccines against viruses and bacteria. However, this was the first time that the WHO recommended for broad use of the vaccine against a human parasite. The vaccine fights against plasmodium falciparum, which is one of five malaria parasite species and the deadliest one. The WHO said it was recommending children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high malaria transmission get four doses up to the age of two.

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