First Ever Malaria Vaccine Gets Greenlit: WHO

Reuters 02:16 PM, 11 Oct, 2021
First Ever Malaria Vaccine Gets Greenlit: WHO

South Africa: The World Health Organization (WHO) recently approved the first vaccine for malaria, produced by GlaxoSmithKline, in a breakthrough the U.N. agency has dubbed as a “historic moment.”

“The vaccine, which goes by the name Mosquirix, offers a “hope” for many countries in Africa and Asia. It will protect our children against one of the oldest and most deadly diseases” explained Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa. 

Malaria causes nearly half a million deaths per year. A disease that targets the lowest socioeconomic class, it causes the most harm in areas with no basic health care, houses with mosquito swarms and stagnant water which increases mosquito breeding. There are many variants of malaria, so developing an effective vaccine wasn’t easy. If a vaccine is created against one lab-grown strain, it doesn’t guarantee working overall.

Around 100,000+ children lose the battle to malaria annually, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. After piloting studies for two years in three African countries, namely Malawi, Kenya and Ghana, with a high burden of malaria, this vaccine became the first to be authorized for global use.

This vaccine prevents about 30% of severe malaria cases that are more likely to lead to death. Malawi, Kenya and Ghana’s vaccine rollout program has shown good vaccine approval and safe administration. So far, 800,000 children have been immunized using Mosquirix.