WHO Endorsed Use of First Malaria Vaccine

Story Highlights
  • WHO recommends RTS,S?AS01, vaccine, the first vaccine for mosquito borne disease.
  • Approval stems from pilot study done from 2019.
  • Recommends 4 doses in children from 5th month from birth.

London: In a landmark announcement, the WHO on Wednesday approved the RTS, S/AS01  malaria vaccine, the first vaccine also known as Mosquirix against the mosquito-borne disease that succumbs roughly more than 400,000 people per annum in Africa.

This decision stems from a review of a pilot program that was initiated in 2019 in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi where more than 800,000 doses of vaccine were administered. “This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.  He further added the vaccine would synergize saving tens of thousands of young lives every year.

Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano piloted the vaccine in Ghana to assess whether mass vaccination was feasible and effective. As per the review, the WHO has recommended scheduling 4 doses in children from the 5th month from birth for reducing the load.

“For centuries, malaria has stalked sub-Saharan Africa, causing immense personal suffering,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. He hoped for proven efficacy and recommended the vaccine for widespread use.

As per the findings of the pilot study the vaccine has proven to be safe and registered a 30% reduction in severe malaria. Moreover, the study showed no hindrance in the effect of the routine vaccines.

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