WHO Approves First Malaria Vaccine For Children In Africa

Oct, 2021 - By SMI

WHO Approves First Malaria Vaccine For Children In Africa

Widespread use of ground-breaking malaria vaccine is recommended among children based on results of a current pilot program immunizing around 1 million African children.

Malaria is still causing numerous childhood sickness and death, making it the foremost cause in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Health Organization, malaria causes more than 260,000 deaths of children under the age of five in Africa. After the successful results of a pilot study program in Kenya, Malawi and Ghana surrounding more than one million children, the WHO has now recommended extensive use of the first malaria vaccine termed as RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) in children across all sub-Saharan Africa, hoping it would save numerous lives of children in the coming future.

The new vaccine RTS,S is a product of a long-term research of more than 30 years. And the ongoing pilot program has vaccinated more than 800,000 children in Ghana, Malawi and Kenya from 2019.  The WHO’s evaluation of the pilot program confirmed the vaccine to be safe and effective. Also, the evaluation shows the four-dose schedule of the vaccine is a feasible procedure for the large communities. The efficiency of RTS,S/AS01 was questioned as the trails found that the vaccine prevented infection in 40% of the cases and reduced severe cases of malaria by 30%. However, the as per the WHO, a vaccine with such moderate efficiency could help save considerable amount of lives and prevent the disease.

The pilot program has also proved the safety of the vaccine throughout its trial period. After administration of over 2.3 million doses, the researchers can confirm that the vaccine has no side effects that were suspected before such as meningitis. Further, the WHO now will find funding for the new malaria vaccine from the global health community for wider rollout.

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