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The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the launch of a malaria vaccine in a pilot program taking place in Malawi, Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the launch of a malaria vaccine in a pilot program taking place in Malawi, Africa, it revealed in an April 23, 2019 press statement.
This pilot program represents the first of three and is the product of a collaboration between the ministries of health in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi and a range of in-country and international partners, including PATH, a non-profit organization, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the vaccine developer and manufacturer, which is donating up to 10 million vaccine doses for this pilot. The RTS,S vaccine will be administered to children up to the age of two years.
“Delivering the world’s first malaria vaccine will help reduce the burden of one of the most pressing health challenges globally. This novel tool is the result of GSK employees collaborating with their partners, applying the latest in vaccine science to contribute to the fight against malaria,” said Dr Thomas Breuer, chief medical officer of GSK Vaccines, in a press release. “We look forward to seeing the results of the pilot, and in parallel, are working with WHO and PATH to secure the vaccine’s sustained global health impact in the future.”
The overall aim of the pilot program is to gain evidence and experience into the potential broader use of the RTS,S vaccine. Specific data will be gathered for analysis by WHO on reductions in child deaths, vaccine uptake (including whether parents bring their children on time for the four required doses), and vaccine safety in the context of routine use.
“We have seen tremendous gains from bed nets and other measures to control malaria in the last 15 years, but progress has stalled and even reversed in some areas. We need new solutions to get the malaria response back on track, and this vaccine gives us a promising tool to get there,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in the release. “The malaria vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of children’s lives.”