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With catalytic funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GSK, Gavi, Vaccine Alliance, others collaborate to develop first malaria vaccine, earn WHO recommendation

In a first in world history, WHO, the World Health Organization, has approved a malaria vaccine, Mosquirix, with a potential to redress malaria-related death

In a first in world history, WHO, the World Health Organization, has approved a malaria vaccine, Mosquirix, with a potential to redress malaria-related deaths.

The World Health Organization stated that in 30% of exposures, real-world tests prove that Mosquirix prevented malaria infection.

In a statement issued on Wednesday by the global organization, its director-general, Tedros Ghebreyesus, described the development as a historic moment.

“This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is 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,” Mr. Ghebreyesus said.

WHO said the recommendation is based on results from an ongoing pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 800,000 children since 2019.

WHO added that it is recommending widespread use of the vaccine, which it tagged; RTS, S/AS01 (RTS, S) “among children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission.”

Malaria, a life-threatening disease and caused by parasites transmitted to the people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, accounts for more deaths in Africa in particular.

According to WHO, in 2019, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria worldwide with Africa accounting for roughly 94 per cent, with an an estimated 409,000 deaths globally.

“Malaria remains a primary cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 260,000 African children under the age of five die from malaria annually,” WHO said in its statement.

The World Health Organization revealed that the key findings of the pilots on the use of the vaccine spanned two years of vaccination in child health clinics in the three pilot countries, implemented under the leadership of the ministries of health of Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.

It further stated that till date, more than 2.3 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the three countries and that no negative impact on uptake of bed nets, other childhood vaccinations, or health seeking behavior for febrile illness has been recorded.

WHO said the pilot programme had been mobilized through “an unprecedented collaboration among three key global health funding bodies: Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and Unitaid.”

It commended the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for providing what it described as the catalytic funding for “late-stage development of RTS, S between 2001 and 2015.”

It added that the vaccine is the result of 30 years of research and development by the pharmaceutical giant- GSK, and through a partnership with PATH, with support from a network of African research centres.

Germans vote to chart new direction….

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