Historic! World’s First Malaria Vaccine Gets Approval By WHO

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Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that it has recommended widespread use of the world’s first malaria vaccine called RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) for children in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the WHO, the vaccine is the result of 30 years of research and development by British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in partnership with the international non-profit organization Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) and with a network of research centers in Africa.

Children across much of Africa are to be vaccinated against malaria in a historic moment in the fight against the deadly disease.

Malaria has been one of the biggest scourges on humanity for millennia and mostly kills babies and infants.

Having a vaccine – after more than a century of trying – is among medicine’s greatest achievements.

The vaccine – called RTS,S – was proven effective six years ago.

More than half of malaria deaths worldwide are in six sub-Saharan African countries and almost a quarter are in Nigeria alone, according to 2019 WHO figures.

Symptoms include fever, headaches and muscle pain, then cycles of chills, fever and sweating.

Findings from the vaccine pilot showed it “significantly reduces severe malaria which is the deadly form by 30 percent,” said Kate O’Brien, Director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals.

The vaccine is “feasible to deliver”, she added and “it’s also reaching the unreached… Two thirds of children who don’t sleep under a bed net in those countries are now benefiting from the vaccine.”

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