he world’s first International Malaria Vaccine has been licensed for use in African children
The world’s first international malaria vaccine has been licensed for use in children in Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world with moderate to high malaria incidence. “This is a watershed point in history.” In a statement, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “The long-awaited international malaria vaccine for children represents “A scientific advance in child health and malaria control”
Malaria is a parasitic infection carried by mosquito bites that kill over 400,000 people each year, the majority of whom are children in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is primarily controlled by the use of insecticide-treated bed nets and pharmacological treatments.
The vaccine, known as RTS,S or Mosquirix, is made up of a portion of a parasite protein coupled to a portion of a hepatitis B viral protein that helps immune cells recognize the material. It has been in development for about 40 years and is given in four doses starting at the age of five months.
Trials have indicated that taking the vaccine reduces cases of severe or fatal malaria by 30%, even in places where bed nets are extensively used, according to the WHO. This is lower than the efficiency of vaccines against other diseases; for example, the effectiveness of various covid-19 vaccines against severe diseases ranges from 60 to 90%.
Families that had their children vaccinated continued to use bed nets, according to the newest research, and the vaccination is cost-effective.
Granted vaccine approval “increases equity in access to malaria prevention, helping reach children that may not be benefiting from other measures, including bed nets,” says Nanthalile Mugala at PATH. PATH is a global non-profit organization for malaria development.
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