WHO Approves the Malaria Vaccine


Portia Yeboah

The World Health Organization has approved a Malaria vaccine that can save thousands of children. 

In the age of new technology, more and more medical breakthroughs are coming about. The obvious being the record amount of time that the Covid vaccine was made. There are of course improvements being made as more information about the virus is revealed. 

Alongside the COVID Vaccine comes the Malaria Vaccine. Malaria is caused by a parasite that commonly infects a type of mosquito. The mosquito then feeds on humans passing on the disease. It can cause anemia, jaundice, and seizures. It is not fatal to healthy adults but it can be fatal for children, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised. The disease can also be reoccurring and weaken healthy immune systems. The long-awaited vaccine will change the lives of many youths, parents, and even some areas of the world. 

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is the pharmaceutical company that created the vaccine called RTS, S/AS01e, or Mosquirix. WHO has condoned the distribution to sub-Saharan Africa, an area in which malaria is densely transmitted. Along with being the first malaria vaccine, it is the first vaccine made to combat parasitic diseases. 

In 2019, the distribution had pilot programs in Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya. Since then, more than 2.3 million doses have been administered. The vaccine reduced numbers in malaria episodes by 70% when paired with other agents to counter malaria. This is vital for the most effective results. Insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) have been the ones most frequently used and will most likely need to be continued as the vaccine develops. 

The WHO recommendation does not mean a mandatory global distribution. Moving forward there will be more vaccine candidates, funding towards research, and another weapon in nations’ arsenal to fight malaria. 

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a WHO director-general, says “This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health, and malaria control.“ This will progress the lives of many and bring hope to the next generation.