Why The Malaria Vaccine Roll-Out Is Being Hailed As ‘Groundbreaking’

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The disease is far more deadly in Africa than Kovid-19.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended widespread use of the only approved vaccine against malaria, and it said African children should be given wider.

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Malaria kills more than 400,000 people a year, most of whom are under the age of five.

The RTS,S malaria vaccine – or Mosquirix – has been developed by British pharmaceutical giant GSK, and its roll-out marks a major advance against a disease that evades the immune system.

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Children with moderate to high levels of malaria transmission in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions are to receive the vaccine.

How deadly is malaria?

Malaria is a preventable disease caused by parasites transmitted to people through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, vomiting and fatigue.

According to WHO estimates, it killed 386,000 Africans in 2019, compared to 212,000 confirmed deaths from Covid-19 in the previous 18 months.

WHO says 94% Malaria Cases and deaths occur in Africa, a continent of 1.3 billion people.

What is happening?

Since 2019, 2.3 million doses of Mosquirix have been administered to infants in a large-scale pilot program coordinated by the WHO in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. Most of the people who get this disease are under the age of five.

That program followed a decade of clinical trials in seven African countries.

So far, Mosquirix is ​​the only approved vaccine. The European Union’s drug regulator gave it the green light in 2015, saying its benefits outweigh the risks.

How does this work?

The jab requires four doses to be given to children five months of age and older.

Vaccine effectiveness in preventing severe cases Malaria Children only have around 30%. But health experts say the vaccine, used in combination with other preventive measures, including mosquito nets and spraying, could save “millions” of lives.

GSK said that when the jab is given in combination with seasonal administration of anti-malarial drugs, the vaccine “reduces clinical episodes of malaria, hospitalizations with severe malaria, and mortality by approximately 70%.” diminishes”.

Another vaccine against MalariaA year-long study involving 450 children in Burkina Faso, developed by scientists at the University of Oxford and called R21/Matrix-M, showed efficacy of up to 77% in April, researchers said in April, but it is still in the testing stages. Is.

any problem?

Experts said the challenge now would be to raise funding for the production and distribution of the vaccine in some of the world’s poorest countries.

GSK has so far been committed to producing 15 million doses of Mosquirix annually, in addition to the 10 million doses donated to WHO’s pilot programs, no more than 5% of production costs by 2028.

In a study led by WHO this year, A. demand has been estimated Malaria If the vaccine is deployed in areas with moderate to high transmission, there will be 50 to 110 million doses per year by 2030.

The Gavi Vaccine Alliance, a global public-private partnership, will consider whether to fund the vaccination program in December.

What are people saying?

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:

“This is a vaccine developed in Africa by African scientists and we are very proud.

“Using this vaccine in addition to existing tools for prevention Malaria could save the lives of tens of thousands of young people every year.”

Ashley Birkett, Global Leader Malaria Vaccine work in Pathway, a non-profit global health organization that has funded vaccine development with GSK and pilots in three countries:

“This is how we fight Malaria, laying imperfect instruments on top of each other.”

Thomas Breuer, GSK’s chief global health officer:

“This may reinvigorate the fight against the long-awaited historic decision Malaria At a time when progress in this area continues Malaria Control has stalled.”

Dr. Seth Berkeley, Chief Executive of Gavi:

“Today is a historic achievement in our fight against malaria.

“The vaccine is an important additional tool to help control this disease along with other interventions, such as bed nets, and particularly when delivered seasonally in combination with anti-malarial medication.”

Professor Sir Brian Greenwood of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who has been instrumental in malaria vaccination trials and research since the inception of the JAB:

“With malaria still a leading cause of death, especially among children in Africa, this decision has the potential to save millions of young people.

“The RTS,S vaccine does not provide complete protection, but this decision is testament to the global health community’s campaign and finding a way forward.”

Dr. Rose Jalongo, a vaccinology specialist at the Kenyan Ministry of Health:

“I suffer from Malaria As a child and during my internship, and during my clinical years I attended hospital because of the critical condition of children Malaria Those who needed a blood transfusion and unfortunately some of them died.

“It’s a disease I grew up with and seeing all this in my lifetime, it’s an exciting time.”

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