In the African country of Malawi, the world’s first and only malaria vaccine was launched. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this is a part of a landmark pilot program in order to protect thousands of children under five against one of the world’s leading killers. WHO states that RTS,S is the first and till date the only vaccine to significantly reduce malaria in children. Reports state that the vaccine was found to prevent about four in ten malaria cases, including three in ten cases of life-threatening severe malaria, in clinical trials.
In Africa, Malawi is the first where RTS,S is to be made available to children up to two years of age. The vaccine will be introduced in the coming weeks, in Ghana and Kenya. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is of opinion that the vaccine may serve as a new solution which will potentially save tens of thousands of children’s lives. The WHO reminds while celebrating the launch of the vaccine, that to the core package of WHO-recommended measures for malaria prevention, this is a complementary malaria control tool added.
Under the WHO’s coordination, and an outcome of public-private partnerships this pilot vaccine program is designed to generate evidence and experience on the broader use of the vaccine. The vaccine is about to look at reductions in child deaths, and vaccine safety in the context of routine use.