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WHO, UNICEF deliver 18 million doses of malaria vaccine to Africa


The World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the Vaccine Alliance have announced that the first 18 million doses of the malaria vaccine will be delivered to 12 African countries by 2025, to fight the disease. Deadly deaths are almost exclusively found on this continent.

“Malaria remains one of the deadliest diseases in Africa, killing nearly half a million children under the age of five each year,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.

By 2021, 96% of the world’s malaria deaths will occur in Africa.

The Mosquirix vaccine (RTS,S), developed by British pharmaceutical giant GSK, has been administered to more than 1.7 million children in three African countries – Ghana, Kenya and Malawi – as a part of the pilot program.

“It has been shown to be safe and effective, leading to a significant reduction in severe malaria and reduced mortality in children,” said Tedros.

Nearly 30 African countries said they wanted to receive the dose.

In addition to the three trial countries that will continue to receive doses, nine other countries will benefit from the supply, WHO, UNICEF and the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) said in a statement.

These are Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

The first vaccines are expected to arrive in the last quarter of 2023 and be deployed in early 2024.

Tedros said a second malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix-M developed by the University of Oxford and produced by the Serum Institute in India (SII), is “under consideration for prequalification by WHO”, a process aimed at ensure that health products provided to low-income countries are safe and effective.

“It’s really important to remember that almost every minute a child dies from malaria… (the vaccine is) an extra tool in the toolbox,” said Kate O’Brien, WHO director. to fight serious illness, deaths happen”. vaccination and vaccination department.

“(It) is a really necessary step forward.”

“The vaccine is a step in the right direction and is a preview of millions more that will hit the market,” she said.

WHO, UNICEF and Gavi estimate that global demand for malaria vaccines is expected to reach 40 to 60 million doses annually by 2026 and then 80-100 million doses annually by 2030.

Malaria – a disease transmitted to humans by the bites of certain types of mosquitoes – will kill 619,000 people worldwide by 2021, according to the latest WHO figures.

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