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More Malaria-Free Countries Confirmed

April 25, 2021 • 5:29 pm CDT
(Vax Before Travel)

Ahead of World Malaria Day on April 25, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) congratulated an expanding number of countries approaching and achieving zero malaria cases. A new initiative launched today aims to halt transmission of the disease in more countries by 2025.

By the end of 2020, 24 countries had reported interrupting malaria transmission for three years or more. Of these, 11 were certified malaria-free by WHO.

According to the WHO's E-2020 initiative report, Algeria, Belize, Cabo Verde, China, El Salvador, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Malaysia, and Paraguay are malaria-free.

“Their successes were hard-won and came only after decades of concerted action,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in a press statement. “Together, they have shown the world that malaria elimination is a viable goal for all countries.”

Several other countries made excellent progress: Timor-Leste reported only 1 indigenous case, while 3 other countries, Bhutan, Costa Rica, and Nepal, reported fewer than 100 cases last year.

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and influenza-like illness. Left untreated, they may develop severe complications and die, says the U.S. CDC.

About 2,000 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year. The vast majority of cases in the United States are in travelers and immigrants returning from countries where malaria transmission occurs, many from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The Mosquirix RTS,S/AS01E malaria vaccine has been developed by GSK for more than 30 years. Today Mosquirix is piloted in regions of Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi under the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme.

On April 23, 2021, Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, England, stated, ‘These new results of R21/Matrix-M Malaria Vaccine support our high expectations for its potential, which we believe is the first to reach the WHO’s goal of a vaccine for malaria with at least 75% efficacy."