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Global Funding Increases Africa's Access to Malaria Vaccines

July 22, 2022 • 1:14 pm CDT
by the WHO
(Vax Before Travel)

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently welcomed the launch by Gavi of the opportunity for countries to apply for funding to introduce or increase access to the Mosquirix™ RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine.

Announced on July 21, 2022, the international support of nearly US$ 160 million will facilitate increased malaria vaccine access to children.

Malaria remains a primary cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2020, nearly half a million African children died from malaria, says the WHO.

This initiative starts with Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, three African countries that introduced the Mosquirix vaccine in 2019.

Following WHO's recommendation in October 2021 for widespread use of the RTS,S malaria vaccine among children in regions with moderate to high Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission.

Since the vaccine's introduction, there has been a substantial decrease in children hospitalized with severe malaria.

The RTS,S vaccine works specifically against Plasmodium falciparum, which is the deadliest malaria parasite and the most prevalent on the African continent.

"The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health, and malaria control."

"It is projected that – at scale – using this vaccine could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.

"But we will need an increased supply of the vaccine so Africa can reap the benefits of this additional tool for malaria prevention," commented Professor Rose Leke, a malaria disease expert from the University of Yaounde in Cameroon and co-chair of the expert group that advised WHO on a framework to allocate the currently limited malaria vaccine supply.

The WHO, Gavi, and partners are working to accelerate RTS,S supply by exploring approaches to increase manufacturing capacity, market-shaping, and facilitating the development of other first-generation and next-generation malaria vaccines.

Mosquirix does not provide complete protection against malaria caused by P. falciparum, says the U.S. CDC. 

The RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine, was developed by GSK for more than 30 years. 

The malaria vaccine is designed to prevent the parasite from infecting the liver, entering the bloodstream, infecting red blood cells, and leading to disease symptoms.

In addition, because of the vaccine's composition, it also protects against the hepatitis B virus.

Other malaria vaccine news is posted at Vax-Before-Travel.com/Malaria.

Note: This information was manually curated for international travelers.

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