The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the widespread use of the first malaria vaccine Mosquirix (RTS, S / AS01), in children in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions with the high or moderate transmission of the disease (P. falciparum ). The recommendation is based on the results of an ongoing pilot program in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, which has reached more than 800,000 children since 2019.
“It is a historic moment – said WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – The long-awaited anti-malaria vaccine for children is a turning point for science, for the health of children and for the control of malaria.” Its use, “on top of existing tools to prevent malaria, could save tens of thousands of young lives every year.”
The Vaccine Mosquirix is administered to children aged six weeks to 17 months to protect them against malaria caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
Mosquirix contains the proteins found on the surface of the Plasmodium falciparum parasites and the hepatitis B virus. The vaccine helps produce antibodies fast if a vaccinated child is naturally exposed to the malaria parasites and the hepatitis B virus in the future.
Dosage includes three to four injections.
The vaccine was created in 1987 and began pilot tests in endemic countries in 2019. This first-generation malaria vaccine demonstrates modest efficacy against malaria.
Africa and Malaria
The African region has the highest incidence of malaria worldwide, and young children are more vulnerable. In 2018 alone, approximately 265 000 African children under 5 died due to the disease. The deaths represent two thirds (67%) of global malaria deaths. Worldwide, there were an estimated 405 000 deaths from malaria in 2018.
Belgium based SmithKline Beecham Biologicals which is now GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, created the vaccine in the 1980s. Later the vaccine was jointly further developed by GSK and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research with part funding from the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.