WHO approves world’s first Malaria vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) on October 6, 2021 endorsed the Malaria Vaccine called “RTS,S/AS01”.

Highlights

  • RTS,S/AS01 is the world’s first vaccine against the mosquito-borne disease which kills around 400,000 people in a year. Most of the deaths are report among African children.
  • This decision was taken following a review of a pilot programme deployed since 2019 across the countries like Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi where more than two million doses of the vaccine were given.
  • This vaccine was first made in 1987 by pharmaceutical company GSK.
  • As per findings, vaccine resulted into reduction of severe malaria cases by 30 percent

Vaccine doses

WHO has recommended that, children up to the age of two, in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions having moderate to high malaria transmission should get four doses.

Deaths due to Malaria

According to WHO, a child dies of Malaria every two minutes. As per WHO’s 2019 data, more than half of malaria deaths across the world were reported in six sub-Saharan African countries. A quarter of the deaths were reported in Nigeria alone.

Malaria Vaccine

There are many existing vaccines against viruses and bacteria. But this is the first time that WHO recommended to use a vaccine against human parasite. This vaccine acts against plasmodium falciparum, which is one of five malaria parasite and the deadliest among all. RTS,S vaccine is known by the brand name Mosquirix. It requires four injections and has a relatively low efficacy.

Most effective malaria vaccine

R21/Matric-M is the most effective malaria vaccine discovered so far. It has the efficacy of 77%. This is the first vaccine which meets WHO’s goal of a malaria vaccine with at least 75% efficacy.

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