WHO Approves First Malaria Vaccine RTS, S/AS01 to African Countries

WHO has approved the first malaria vaccine RTS, S/AS01 in the world. It will start from African countries that are affected the most.
WHO Approves First Malaria Vaccine RTS, S/AS01 to African Countries

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the first malaria vaccine RTS, S/AS01 in the world. It will start from African countries most affected by malaria. After this, the focus of WHO will be on arranging funds worldwide for the malaria vaccine. And will make sure that this vaccine will reach every needy country.

The government of some countries will decide whether this vaccine actually controls malaria or not. This vaccine could be a hope for the countries affected by malaria.

More than 3 lakh cases of malaria in India 

Children under five years are at a major risk of malaria. Every two minutes a child dies of malaria. In 2019, there were 4.09 lakh deaths due to malaria. In which 67% i.e. 2.74 were children and their age was less than 5 years. There were 3 lakh 38 thousand 494 cases of malaria in India in 2019. And because of this, 77 people died that year. In the last 5 years, India had the highest 384 deaths due to malaria in 2015. Since then the death toll has decreased slowly.

Vaccine experiment in African countries

Image Credit: The Indian Express
Image Credit: The Indian Express

The malaria vaccine RTS, S/AS01 was used in 2019 as a pilot program in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi. 23 lakh children are given the vaccine. And now, WHO has now approved the vaccine. This vaccine was first made in 1987 by the GSK company. This is the first malaria vaccine that has completed the clinical development process. And have received a positive scientific opinion from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Serious cases will be 30% less

According to the results of the pilot project, the malaria vaccine is safe. It can prevent 30% of severe cases. The malaria vaccine does not have any negative effect on other vaccines.

The WHO recommends 4 doses of vaccine for two-year-old children in sub-Saharan African countries. So, that they could recover from malaria. This vaccine neutralizes Plasmodium falciparum. Plasmodium falciparum is one of the five parasites that cause malaria and is the most dangerous. Out of every 10 malaria cases 4 can be prevented by the vaccine, and 3 out of 10 people can be saved in severe cases, said WHO.

According to the WHO, malaria causes 4.09 lakh deaths worldwide every year. Most of them are children from African countries. Half of all malaria deaths worldwide occur in six sub-Saharan African countries. A quarter of these cases are from Nigeria.

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