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WHO Recommends Groundbreaking Malaria Vaccine
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WHO Recommends Groundbreaking Malaria Vaccine

The WHO recommends that children in Sub-Saharan Africa and other areas with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission get the RTS, S/AS01 (RTS, S) malaria vaccine, otherwise known as Mosquirix.

The suggestion is based on the findings of a trial program that has touched over 800,000 children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi since its inception in 2019.

We are seeing a watershed moment in history.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – WHO Director-General

For research, child health, and malaria control, the long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a game-changer.

The addition of this vaccination to current malaria prevention measures might save tens of thousands of child lives each year, according to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Malaria has plagued Sub-Saharan Africa for millennia, according to WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.

WHO recommends groundbreaking malaria vaccine for children at risk

The proposal was based on data and insights gathered over two years of immunization in child health clinics in the three pilot nations, which were executed under the direction of Ghana’s, Kenya’s, and Malawi’s Ministries of Health.

These are some of the findings:

  • Vaccine introduction is practical, improves health, and saves lives, as seen by good and equitable RTS, S coverage seen through regular vaccination programs. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, this happened.
  • RTS, S promotes equality in malaria preventive access by reaching the unreachable.
  • The RTS, S vaccination benefits more than two-thirds of children in the three nations who do not sleep under a bednet, according to data from the pilot study.
  • When the tools are combined, more than 90% of children benefit from at least one preventative intervention (insecticide-treated bednets or the malaria vaccine).
  • Strong safety profile: The vaccine has been delivered in over 2.3 million doses in three African nations so far, and it has a positive safety record.
  • There were no detrimental effects on bednet use, other childhood immunizations, or health-seeking behavior for febrile illnesses. There has been no decline in the use of insecticide-treated nets, uptake of other childhood vaccines, or health-seeking behavior for febrile illness in regions where the vaccine has been administered.
  • In real-life children vaccination settings, this has a big impact: Even when introduced in regions where insecticide-treated nets are extensively used and diagnosis and treatment are readily available, there is a significant reduction (30%) in fatal severe malaria.
  • Modeling suggests that the vaccine is cost-effective in places where malaria transmission is moderate to high.

The importance of vaccines in the fight against Malaria 

The Organization advises that, based on the opinion of two WHO global advisory committees, one for vaccination and the other for malaria, that:

In the context of comprehensive malaria control, WHO advises that the RTS, S/AS01 malaria vaccine be administered to prevent P. falciparum malaria in children residing in WHO-defined moderate to high transmission areas.

The RTS, S/AS01 malaria vaccine should be given to children starting at the age of 5 months on a four-dose regimen to reduce malaria illness and burden.

The different types of Malaria vaccines 

Malaria is a potentially fatal illness carried by mosquitoes.

It’s one of the world’s most prevalent and spreading infectious illnesses, impacting millions of individuals every year.

Fever, headaches, vomiting, and severe sickness are all symptoms of malaria.

The good news is that scientists have identified a variety of vaccinations that might help stop the illness from spreading throughout the globe.

These vaccinations are designed to protect individuals from malaria before they become infected.

Future directions for the development of a more effective malaria vaccine 

A new approach to combating malaria has been developed by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, who have successfully tested a DNA vaccine against the disease.

The study has shown for the first time that DNA vaccines can protect against malaria infection.

It is hoped that with further research into this method it will be possible to develop a more effective vaccine against the disease.

A malaria vaccine is one of the most important tools for reducing malaria mortality, morbidity, and transmission.

Despite substantial efforts, this goal has not yet been achieved.

A number of factors may explain this failure including lack of funding, scientific competition, low priority at research institutes, and also scientific mismanagement.

This review examines these factors to gain an insight into what can be done to achieve a successful malaria vaccine in the future.

Conclusion

WHO recommends that countries introduce the RTS, S/AS01 malaria vaccine alongside other malaria control measures to reduce the burden of disease.

The next steps for the WHO-recommended malaria vaccine will include funding decisions from the global health community for broader rollout, and country decision-making on whether to adopt the vaccine as part of national malaria control strategies.

As the global health community continues to work towards universal childhood immunization, this vaccine will play a key role in preventing disease and saving lives.


Source: WHO

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