New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday recommended the world's first vaccine against malaria. The recommended vaccine is RTS,S/ASO1, trade name Mosquirix, and it has shown capabilities to reducing malaria among children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions.

"This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control," said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement while adding that this vaccine could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.

What is Mosquirix?

Mosquirix or RTS,S/AS01 is an anti-malaria vaccine developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline in 1987. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) claims that it can act against Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite, and can reduce life-threatening severe malaria in children.

It also said that more than 8 lakh Mosquirix doses have been administered in children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi under their childhood immunization programmes.

Findings from the vaccine pilot showed it "significantly reduces severe malaria which is the deadly form by 30 per cent," said Kate O'Brien, Director of WHO's Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals.

The vaccine is "feasible to deliver", she added and "it's also reaching the unreached... Two thirds of children who don't sleep under a bed net in those countries are now benefiting from the vaccine."

How is Mosquirix administered?

Mosquirix is a three-dose anti-malaria vaccine that is administered with one month between each injection using a 0.5 ml injection. The WHO, however, has recommended a fourth dose 18 months after the third jab is inoculated.

How does Mosquirix work and what about its efficacy?

The EMA has said that Mosquirix has proteins that can be found on Plasmodium falciparum parasites. It can identify the "foreign" proteins and can act against Plasmodium falciparum, creating ant-bodies against it. Mosquirix's effectiveness at preventing severe cases of malaria in children is 30 per cent. However, it is the only approved vaccine.

Why a vaccine against malaria is need of the hour?

Malaria is far more deadly than COVID-19 in Africa. It killed 3.86 lakh Africans in 2019, according to a WHO estimate, compared with 2.12 lakh confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the past 18 months. The WHO says 94 per cent of malaria cases and deaths occur in Africa, a continent of 1.3 billion people. The preventable disease is caused by parasites transmitted to people by the bites of infected mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, vomiting and fatigue.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma