WHO approves the world’s first-ever vaccine against malaria

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ET Online|

Updated: 07 Oct 2021, 06:23 PM IST

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A lengthy battle

The fight against malaria has been on for decades now, with the world only coming up with preventive measures against the disease. Now, British pharmaceutical giant, GSK has come up with a vaccine that could ease the battle significantly.

AP

The vaccine

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The vaccine

Called RTS,S, the vaccine has been proven effective for six years now, but the WHO has only approved it just now, after the success of pilot programmes in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. The vaccine is set to be rolled out across countries with a high incidence of malaria.

AP

Heavy toll

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Heavy toll

In 2019, over 2,60,000 children died from malaria, in Africa. Globally, there were 229 million cases that year. 94% of those were in the African region, with six countries contributing to half of the global burden – Nigeria, Congo, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Niger.

AP

Complexities

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Complexities

The new vaccine is not a fix-all solution, though. It is 40% effective against one strain – the deadliest one – of malaria. Which means it can prevent death in four in 10 cases of malaria and three in 10 severe cases. The reason this happens is because there are over 100 variants of the malaria parasite, which means researchers had to focus on one variant and curb it to the best of their abilities.

AP

Why won’t it end?

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Why won’t it end?

Malaria has been around for decades now, constantly evolving to fight the medicines and methods humans have employed over the years. That evolution is further aided by the fact that the parasite has a cross-species life cycle and infects red blood cells in humans (making it a lot harder to treat). Even now, with the vaccine, the WHO will continue all the current malaria prevention programmes, the vaccine is only an added benefit.

AP

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Credits – Source – https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/healthcare/biotech/healthcare/who-approves-the-worlds-first-ever-vaccine-against-malaria/slideshow/86840936.cms

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