WHO Recommends World’s First Malaria Vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) has finally recommended the use of a malaria vaccine for the first time in the world. For now, the use of the vaccine is intended for children in Africa and other areas with high malaria transmission.

“This is a historic moment. A malaria vaccine for children has been long awaited. The presence of this vaccine is a breakthrough in science, child health and malaria control,” said WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as quoted from the WHO’s official website, Wednesday (6/06/2011). 10/2021).

“The presence of this vaccine can prevent malaria and save tens of thousands of young people’s lives every year,” continued Tedros.

This recommendation for the provision of a malaria vaccine is based on pilot programs carried out in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi which have reached more than 800,000 children since 2019.

More information, here Popmama.with have been compiled from various sources.

1. WHO recommends Mosquirix vaccine for malaria

1. WHO recommends Mosquirix vaccine for malaria

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Since prehistoric times, malaria is one of the deadliest diseases spread by mosquitoes in the tropics and subtropics. Spread by the Anopheles mosquito, malaria is generally caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

If not treated promptly and appropriately, malaria can be fatal. According to WHO data in 2020, there were 229 million cases of malaria and 409,000 deaths caused by it in 2019.

To minimize the risk, WHO recently endorsed the recommendation for the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine or Mosquirix vaccine on September 6, 2021.

It is planned that this malaria vaccine will be given to children in sub-Saharan Africa and other areas that have cases of malaria transmission P.falciparum high to medium.

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P.falciparum is a parasitic protozoan that causes malaria in humans through the female Anopheles mosquito. Mosquitoes with this parasite are very deadly. In Africa every year there are 260,000 children under 5 years who die from malaria.

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2. Mosquirix vaccine at a glance

2. Mosquirix vaccine at a glance

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malaria vaccine illustration

The history of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) vaccine, also known as the Mosquirix vaccine, began more than 30 years ago. At that time, this vaccine was formulated in collaboration between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the UK and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the United States. The vaccine research was funded by the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Also known as Mosquirix, this vaccine is made with a combination of genes from proteins P. falciparum and hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg). This protein was then added with HBsAg to be purified again. The adjuvant compound AS01 was added to enhance the immune response.

3. Trial in three African countries

3. Trial of three African countries

Pixabay/David Mark

In 2015, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) and the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) recommended a trial of the Mosquirix vaccine on the African continent. Then in 2019, the experiment was conducted on more than 800,000 children in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi.

WHO noted that malaria is one of the biggest causes of death on the continent with a percentage of up to 95 percent. It is recorded that around 260,000 children die every year due to malaria.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said he was happy with the presence of the Mosquirix vaccine. For centuries, malaria has become a disease that causes high morbidity and mortality in Africa.

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“For centuries, malaria has lurked in sub-Saharan Africa and caused tremendous suffering,” said Matshidiso Moeti.

“These recommendations provide a glimmer of hope for the continent that bears the heaviest burden of disease and we hope that more and more African children are protected from malaria and grow up to be healthy adults,” he added.

The Mosquirix vaccination trial in three African countries was funded by the global vaccines Alliance, Gavi; Global Fund to Fight AIDS; Tuberculosis and Malaria; and Unitaid. To date, more than 2.3 million doses of Mosquirix vaccine have been administered in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in the three African countries.

4. Mosquirix vaccine is safe to use

4. Mosquirix vaccine is safe to use

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The Mosquirix vaccine is proven to be safe to use and effective up to 30 percent to ward off severe symptomatic malaria. Although it seems not very effective, coupled with other efforts such as the use of mosquito nets with insecticides, WHO promises that 90 percent of children can be saved from malaria.

According to WHO, from a pilot in three African countries (Kenya, Ghana and Malawi), two thirds of children who sleep without a mosquito net benefit from the vaccine and there is a 30 percent reduction in severe malaria cases. These results also show the vaccine is safe to use and its use is cost-effective.

Quoted from BBC, a trial that was also conducted in 2015 showed that this vaccine could prevent around four in 10 cases of malaria and prevent three in 10 severe cases. Another positive impact is that the number of children requiring blood transfusions has fallen by a third.

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Note that the vaccine must be injected in four doses to be effective against Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest and most common malaria parasite in Africa. The first three doses are given one month apart starting at five months of age and a booster injection is required around 18 months of age.

5. 15 million doses of malaria vaccine ready to be provided every year

5. 15 million doses of malaria vaccine ready to be provided every year

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According to experts, the launch of malaria vaccination in Africa poses challenges in mobilizing financing for production and distribution. British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is committed to producing 15 million doses of malaria vaccine annually, in addition to the 10 million donated to a WHO pilot program that runs through 2028.

According to a WHO-led study, it is estimated that the demand for malaria vaccines will be 50 to 110 million doses per year by 2030 provided that the vaccine is used for areas with moderate to high disease transmission.

The global vaccine alliance, Gavi, will consider in December how to fund malaria vaccination programs in Africa. It is currently reported that the price per dose of vaccine has not been determined but will be confirmed once there is a Gavi funding decision and a more definite demand for vaccine quantities.

That’s information about the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) vaccine or the Mosquirix vaccine, a vaccine that has been recommended by WHO for malaria. Hopefully in the future the use of this vaccine can be more widespread, even reaching Indonesia.

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