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Historic! World Health Organization Approves First Malaria Vaccine

World Health Organization (WHO) has approved world’s first malaria vaccine on Wednesday, 6th October. WHO endorsed the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine, the first against the mosquito borne disease that kills more than 400000 people every year.

Sugandh Bhatnagar
Malaria Vaccine
Malaria Vaccine

World Health Organization (WHO) has approved world’s first malaria vaccine on Wednesday, 6th October. WHO endorsed the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine, the first against the mosquito borne disease that kills more than 400000 people every year. After Covid 19 vaccination, this is one of the most important vaccine for people across the world.

This decision followed a review of a programme deployed since 2019 in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi in which more than 2 million doses were given of the vaccine, first made by the pharmaceutical company GSK in 1987. 

After reviewing evidence from the centuries, WHO's Director General, Tedros  Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was recommending the broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine,

According to the centres for disease Control & prevention (CDC), America’s public health agency, malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. The WHO describes malaria as a life threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of mosquitoes. 

Key Findings of Malaria Vaccine Pilots: 

Key findings of the pilots informed the recommendation based on data and insights generated from two years of vaccination in child health clinics in the three pilot countries, implemented under the leadership of the Ministries of Health of Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. Findings include:

  • Feasible to deliver: Vaccine introduction is feasible, improves health and saves lives, with good and equitable coverage of RTS,seen through routine immunization systems. This occurred even in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Reaching the unreached: RTS,S increases equity in access to malaria prevention.

Data from the pilot programme showed that more than two-thirds of children in the 3 countries who are not sleeping under a bednet are benefitting from the RTS,S vaccine. 

Layering the tools results in over 90% of children benefitting from at least one preventive intervention (insecticide treated bednets or the malaria vaccine). 

  • Strong safety profile: To date, more than 2.3 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in 3 African countries – the vaccine has a favorable safety profile. 

  • No negative impact on uptake of bednets, other childhood vaccinations, or health seeking behavior for febrile illness. In areas where the vaccine has been introduced, there has been no decrease in the use of insecticide-treated nets, uptake of other childhood vaccinations or health seeking behavior for febrile illness.

  • High impact in real-life childhood vaccination settings: Significant reduction (30%) in deadly severe malaria, even when introduced in areas where insecticide-treated nets are widely used and there is good access to diagnosis and treatment.

  • Highly cost-effective: Modelling estimates that the vaccine is cost effective in areas of moderate to high malaria transmission.

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