WHO RECOMMENDS THE FIRST MALARIA VACCINE FOR CHILDREN
Written by Celine Abuga on November 2, 2021
Malaria has been one of the biggest menaces on humanity for ages and mostly kills babies and infants.
The World Health Organization has approved a malaria vaccine for use in children for the first time.
Having a vaccine – after more than a century of trying – is among medicine’s greatest achievements. The vaccine – called RTS,S – was proven effective six years ago.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria is an infectious disease that occurs due to the transmission of parasites to a person by mosquito bites that carry the infection.
Malaria kills more people in Africa than COVID-19 – and most of its victims are children.
In 2019, 386,000 Africans died from malaria, of which 274,000 were children under five, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In the past 18 months, there have been 212,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
Now the WHO has approved a malaria vaccine for children for the first time, after a successful pilot scheme in three African countries: Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.
RTS,S – or Mosquirix – is a vaccine developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, which acts against P. falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite globally, and the most prevalent in Africa.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called it a “historic moment” and a “breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control”.
“Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year,” he added.
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