The World Health Organisation has announced the breaking news that the first vaccine to prevent malaria is now being endorsed as of today, October 6th.
Two years ago, the W.H.O and their partners began a pilot programme to roll out the vaccine in various African countries, including Kenya, Ghana and Malawi.
Globally, progress has been stalled, according to the W.H.O, at an “unacceptable high level, with more than 200 million cases and 400 thousand deaths every year.” Two-thirds of these deaths in Africa are children under the age of five years old, says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, W.H.O Director-General.
This is why the vaccine is such a ground-breaking announcement, especially for Africa’s future.
The vaccine, which is made by GlaxoSmithKline helps strengthen a child’s immune system against Plasmodium falciparum, which according to The New York Times is the deadliest of five malaria pathogens and happens to be the most prevalent in Africa.
Beyond being the first vaccine stepping out of trials for malaria, it is also the first developed for any parasitic disease.
The vaccine can be delivered through child health clinics by ministries of Health, and readily reach children at high coverage levels according to the W.H.O.
“✅ It has broad reach to children – incl. the most vulnerable who may not use a bednet
✅ It’s safe
✅ It significantly reduces life-threatening severe #malaria
✅ We estimate it to be highly cost-effective”-@DrTedros #EndMalaira https://t.co/4SNq2ShiEe
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) October 6, 2021
Called ‘Mosquirix’, The WHO organisation states that the malaria vaccine should be in a schedule of four doses in children from five months of age. To date, more than 2.3 million doses of the vaccine have been administrated in three African countries, with 90% of children now protected against malaria.
The vaccine has also been shown to have a high safety profile and the vaccine introductions are led by the ministries of health in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi and funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and Unitaid. A pilot programme is still underway to study the added value of a fourth does and measure the longer-term impact on child deaths.
As Dr. Tedros further notes, a very long road is still to be travelled, but this [vaccine] is a long stride down that road.