Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – The World Health Organization announced on Wednesday, in what was described as a “historic” step, that it had recommended the use of the world’s first and only malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions where malaria is transmitted at moderate to high levels.
The World Health Organization said in a statement that this recommendation is based on the results of an ongoing pilot program conducted in children’s health clinics in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.
The statement also stated that this program, which was launched in 2019, and included more than 800,000 children, received the “RTS,S/AS01” vaccine, also known as “Mosquirex”, the results of which showed that it is safe, affordable, easy to deliver, and that it protects by 30%. of severe cases of malaria.
In the statement, Director-General of Global Health, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, described the move as a “historic moment”, adding that “the long-awaited pediatric malaria vaccine represents a major advance in science, child health and malaria control.” The vaccine, combined with approved tools to prevent malaria, could save tens of thousands of children each year.”
The World Health Organization has recommended that the vaccine can be used to protect children from the deadly malaria known as Plasmodium falciparum. It is recommended to give it in four doses to children starting from the age of 5 months.
Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted by the female mosquito “Anapheles”. Regardless of whether the disease can be prevented or treated, malaria remains one of the leading causes of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 260,000 children under the age of five die each year.
The vaccine works to stop the mosquito parasite from growing and multiplying in the liver before it passes naturally into the patient’s blood.
Clinical trials have shown that the vaccine offers 39% protection against malaria in newborns between 17 months and 5 years old. But other studies have shown that the effectiveness of the vaccine declines with time.
The Director-General of World Health, in a series of related tweets on the organization’s account on Twitter, on Wednesday, expressed his satisfaction with the organization’s recommendation, saying: “This vaccine was developed in Africa, by African scientists,” thanking everyone who participated in its development over the past thirty years, He added in one of his tweets: “Today, the RTS,S malaria vaccine has changed the course of public health history, after working on its development for more than 30 years.”
“We still have a very long way to go, but we have come a long way,” said Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“For centuries, malaria has haunted sub-Saharan Africa, causing great suffering,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. And she continued: “We have always hoped for an effective malaria vaccine, and now, for the first time ever, we have a recommended vaccine for widespread use,” stressing that “today’s recommendation provides a glimmer of hope for the continent that bears the brunt of the disease, and we expect to protect more children.” Africans get rid of malaria so they can grow up healthy.”