Malaria Vaccine WHO Approved: The Second Malaria Vaccine And Will Be Available In Mid-2024

  • October 16, 2023
  • 4 min read
Malaria Vaccine WHO Approved: The Second Malaria Vaccine And Will Be Available In Mid-2024

Have you heard about the malaria vaccine WHO approved? Malaria kills more than 600,000 people worldwide, mostly children in Africa. World health leaders warn that the situation is worsening due to mosquito resistance to insecticides and the effects of climate change

Where To Get Malaria Vaccine?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended a new malaria vaccine for adults and youngto prevent the disease in children. The injection, called R21/Matrix-M, was developed by the University of Oxford. This WHO-approved malaria vaccine is the second recommended by the international organization, after RTS, S/AS01, which received the institution’s support in 2021.

The new R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine for travel will be available to countries in mid-2024, and doses will cost between two and four dollars (1.9 and 3.8 euros), according to the WHO.

How Is The Malaria Vaccine WHO Approved?

There is a critical challenge for global health. This malaria vaccine for adults will end the most significant malaria emergency in the last 20 years.

This disease, transmitted by a mosquito bite, affected 247 million people in 2021. Its worst effects occur in Africa, where it kills almost half a million children each year. In 2021, it left 619,000 dead worldwide, 96% on the African continent. Nearly two years ago, in October 2021, the WHO recommended using the first malaria vaccine in children, RTS, S (Mosquirix), against Plasmodium falciparum, Africa’s deadliest and most common parasite. 

The two malaria vaccine WHO approved has shown similar effectiveness in laboratory tests, according to the WHO, so each country will decide which immunization to choose depending on its availability and price. “Today is a great day for health, a great day for science, and a great day for vaccines,” celebrated the director of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom, on his social networks.

The new R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine for adults was approved last April in Ghana, the first country in the world to take this step. The Serum Institute of India will be responsible for the production of the injection. His CEO, Adar Poonawalla, announced in statements to the Reuters agency that his laboratory has already produced 20 million doses, anticipating the official recommendation of the WHO. “We believe that by the end of 2024, there will be no imbalance between demand and supply with the arrival of our supply.”

The WHO has also recommended the dengue vaccine called Qdenga, which can be administered to children between six and 16 years old in areas where this disease is endemic.

The Worst Emergency In 20 Years

This is an especially significant moment in the fight against malaria worldwide. After decades of progress in reducing infections and deaths—up to a 45% decrease in mortality between 2005 and 2019, thanks to the introduction of vaccines and insecticide-treated mosquito nets, a method that has managed to prevent 68 % of cases since the 1990s—progress is slowing, and current challenges are increasing. The UN issued a warning in August, highlighting that progress against malaria has been reversed in at least 13 countries and has stalled in some others, especially since 2015.

Among science’s problems is resistance to malaria mosquitoes carrying the Plasmodium falciparum parasite? This causes 90% of deaths in the world. It is a fact that rapid diagnostic tests are becoming obsolete and that the risks associated with climate change, such as increases in temperature, cyclones, and floods, multiply the risk of the spread of malaria, in addition to other evils, such as cholera or polio.

Last month, African Union heads of state and government and global health leaders at the United Nations General Assembly warned that we are facing “the largest malaria emergency in the last two decades.” 

In July, the first malaria vaccine for travel was included in the immunization schedules of 12 African countries. Still, the WHO warned of insufficient supply of this vaccine to satisfy the 25 million children born yearly in countries where malaria is endemic.

Malaria Vaccine WHO Approved To Combat Malaria

The University of Oxford developed the dose and seeks to combat the disease in children. It is the second of its kind that the agency approves.

In this way, this second inoculant malaria vaccine, WHO approved by the International Health Agency, seeks to prevent the disease mainly in minors. This dose stands out for its low cost and high probability of mass production.

How The New Vaccine Works? Where To Get Malaria Vaccine

The R21 vaccine is also safe and effective in preventing malaria in children and adults.

The effectiveness of this new vaccine is very high, and its availability is expected in the middle of next year. Each dose will cost approximately US$2 and US$4; four amounts per person will be necessary to complete the schedule.

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Fatima Humayun

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