WHO recommends a malaria vaccine

In May and months earlier, we announced that the preparation of a malaria vaccine was well underway.

Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of the malaria vaccine RTS, S / AS01 (RTS, S) among children in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions in an announcement on 6 October. with moderate to high transmission of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The recommendation is based on the results of an ongoing pilot program in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 800,000 children since 2019.

This, in summary, is the text of the press release:

Malaria remains a leading cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 260,000 African children under the age of five die of malaria every year.

"For centuries, malaria has haunted sub-Saharan Africa, causing immense personal suffering," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. "Today's recommendation offers a glimmer of hope for the continent that bears the heaviest burden of the disease and we expect many more African children to be protected from malaria and become healthy adults."

The RTS malaria vaccine, S / AS01 should be administered in a 4-dose schedule in children from 5 months of age to reduce disease and malaria burden.

The key results of the pilot projects gave rise to the recommendation based on data and insights generated from two years of vaccination in children's health clinics in the three pilot countries, under the leadership of the ministries of health of Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

Data from the pilot program showed that more than two thirds of children in the 3 countries who do not sleep under a mosquito net are benefiting from the RTS vaccine, S.

The vaccine has a favorable safety profile: in fact, more than 2.3 million doses of the vaccine have been administered to date.

In areas where the vaccine has been introduced, there has been no decrease in the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and the adoption of other childhood vaccinations.

There has been a significant reduction (30%) in severe and fatal malaria, although introduced in areas where insecticide-treated nets are widely used and there is good access to diagnosis and treatment.

 

to the full text of the press release:

https://www.who.int/news/item/06-10-2021-who-recommends-groundbreaking-malaria-vaccine-for-children-at-risk