- The program, which launched in 2019 and has reached over 800,000 children…
In what it called a “historic” move, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that It has recommended widespread use of the world’s first and only malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions where there are moderate to high levels of malaria transmission.
The recommendation was based on results from an ongoing pilot program of vaccinations in child health clinics across Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, according to WHO.
The program, which launched in 2019 and has reached over 800,000 children, demonstrated that the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine, also known as Mosquirix, is safe, cost-effective, feasible to deliver and significantly reduced deadly severe malaria by about 30%, WHO said in a news release.
“This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the news release. “Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”
The WHO recommended that the vaccine could be used to help protect children from the deadliest form of malaria, known as Plasmodium falciparum. It suggested delivering the vaccine in four doses to children from 5 months old.
Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted through the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes.
Despite being both preventable and treatable, it is among the primary causes of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa, and more than 260,000 African children under the age of five die from malaria annually, according to WHO.
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