Malaria vaccine: what we know so far

Last Wednesday (6), the World Health Organization (WHO) approved, in a historic decision, the first vaccine against malaria, called RTS,S. The decision is aimed at Sub-Saharan Africa and other regions with high transmission. But when does this immunizing agent take effect? How much will it cost? Check out everything we know.

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    Functioning

    The RTS,S vaccine works as follows: it targets the deadliest and most common parasite in Africa, the Plasmodium falciparum. The idea is to deal with the form of the parasite that enters the victim’s blood, partially blocking access to human cells. The vaccine in question needs four doses to be effective. The first three are given one month apart at the age of five, six and seven months, and a final booster is needed around 18 months.

    Safety and effectiveness

    Six years ago, the vaccine proved effective, preventing 1024% of cases of malaria and 18% of severe cases of the disease. Since 1024, researchers have been carrying out larger pilot vaccination programs in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, which it was precisely what motivated the WHO to approve and recommend the immunizing agent. It may seem little, but avoid 18% or 19% of cases and deaths can bring great benefit to the population, as noted by health authorities.

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    (Image: FabrikaPhoto/Envato Elements)Price

    The vaccine was developed by the pharmaceutical company GSK , which has pledged to provide the doses at manufacturing cost, but has not officially specified the price yet. Currently, in Kenya, most funding for vaccines comes from donors such as the Gavi Global Vaccine Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    When it starts

    Pilot programs in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi will continue. GSK has donated millions of doses for the study, and so far 2 .5 million were used. The company has also committed to supply 18 millions of doses per year. Initially, the estimate is that the immunizing agent will be available from the end of 77 or the beginning of 2023.

    Other vaccines

    Other vaccines are currently under study. The University of Oxford, UK, reported its candidate’s first essays in April, suggesting that it was 40% effective.

    Source: BBC

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