Greenlighted by WHO Experts, First Malaria Vaccine Could Help Billions

After the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) key advisers gave it the green light, the first vaccine against malaria that allegedly prevents 30% of severe cases of malaria, could soon be rolled out to billions of people, Sky News reports.

The experts conclusion of the WHO’s advisory bodies for immunisation and malaria points that vaccine Mosquirix could save tens of thousands of lives every year and is now expected to get the nod from WHO, that should also obtain the funding for millions of doses.

The jab will then be considered by the Vaccine Alliance GAVI which ensures low-income countries have access to life-saving jabs.

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) and the Malaria Policy Advisory Group’s (MPAG) decision to back the vaccine follows a pilot roll-out in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, where over 800,000 children have received at least one dose of the vaccine since 2019 as part of the standard childhood immunisation programme.

The jab’s real-world tests proved it safe and showed it prevented 30% of severe cases of malaria, the mosquito-borne infectious disease that kills one child every two minutes and has taken 409,000 deaths in 2019, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mosquirix is a vaccine developed by Glaxo-SmithKline Inc. in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative as a preventive measure against malaria and its development has proved a major challenge since the parasite is far more complex than a virus or bacteria and is able to slip past the immune system.

The jab acts against the Anopheles mosquito- carried Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest of all the malaria parasites, stopping it from infecting liver cells where it normally matures and multiplies before causing potentially deadly disease.

Though its effectiveness is low compared to vaccines for other diseases, WHO believes it will still prevent tens of thousands of deaths every year.

In the meantime, more effective vaccines are in development with the results of the jab created by the Oxford University team- the one that made AstraZeneca COVID jab- released earlier this year showing it prevents malaria in 77% of cases.

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