Malaria is considered one of the worst diseases for decades by health experts. However, with the breakthrough childhood malaria vaccine, the fight against the disease is going to be much easier. The World Health Organization (WHO) as well as promoted the widespread use of this malaria vaccine that has been developed by GlaxoSmithKline. This is the first malaria shot that has received such kind of approval from the WHO. Health experts have said that the vaccine will be suggested for children living in sub-Saharan Africa and other high-risk regions. The new millstone vaccine involves a four-dose regimen and the first dose starts at 5 months of age. Experts have said that malaria is a mosquito-borne disease, which is caused by at least five different species of Plasmodium parasite. They have claimed that the majority of infections are led by Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. In Africa, most cases are linked to Plasmodium falciparum, said the experts. Experts have said that symptoms of malaria such as fever, headache, and chills are mild in the early stage. However, Plasmodium falciparum can cause severe disease leading to severe organ damage and at times death if the disease is not treated timely. Malaria especially affects children.
Health experts have been implementing mosquito control and treatment programs that have led to a major decline in cases of malaria in recent decades. However, experts have reported nearly 229 million cases of malaria across the world in 2019. As per the data, nearly 400000 people have lost their lives due to the disease across with world. Experts have said that this death toll is the second highest only to tuberculosis for a single contagious disease since COVID19 has surpassed malaria and tuberculosis in the last two years. Health officials have found that the appearance of insecticide resistance among female Anopheles mosquitoes, the vectors of the disease has further unsettled tremulous progress in efforts to fight against malaria. They have said that the constant threat of malaria has made the way for the development of a childhood malaria shot. Unstoppable cases of the disease across the world have made the vision of a childhood shot even more enticing. Experts have said that for ages, coming up with a childhood shot for a complex organism like a parasite has been proved to be harder as compared to developing a vaccine for bacteria and viruses until now. While announcing the endorsement of the shot, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), has said that it is a historic moment for medical science. The development of malaria shots for children is a milestone for science, said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He has said that with the help of this vaccine along with other currently available tools, experts can prevent many cases and save tens of thousands of young lives every year.
At present, the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine has been named as RTS, S/ASo1; however, it will be sold by the brand name Mosquirix. Experts have said that although it is a breakthrough vaccine, it is only discreetly efficient. The shot has been able to prevent nearly half of severe cases that are caused by Plasmodium falciparum in the clinical trials as compared to the control group, which have been held for the WHO endorsement. However, this level of immunity has been seen in the first year of immunization only, by the fourth year, immunity has reduced to quite a low level, said the experts. Health leaders have claimed that with a potency of 55 percent, the new malaria shot has been able to meet only the bare minimum requirement for the WHO endorsement. This year, a large-scale study has shown that with a blend of this shot and other anti-malaria treatments, experts can reduce the risk of severe infection and death by 70 percent that is a likable target for public health initiatives. On the other hand, another study has found that if the shot is used widely, it will be able to prevent nearly 20000 deaths each year in sub-Saharan Africa. Experts hope that like other vaccines in the past, Mosquirix might contribute to the first step towards more potent shots in the future. As per the latest update, there are multiple vaccines for malaria that are in pipeline. Moderna as well is planning to come up with an inventive malaria shot using mRNA technology. The firm has already made its successful attempt at developing the COVID19 shot with the help of the mRNA tool.