After 30 years of development, WHO recommends vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Wednesday (6) that it recommends the adoption of a “historic” vaccine against malaria in children in sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world with a high incidence of the disease. The decision is the result of a pilot program in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 800,000 children since 2019.

“This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control,” said Tedros Ghebreyesus, director general of WHO.

In 2019, according to WHO data, around 229 million cases of malaria were registered worldwide — and 409,000 deaths. Africa accounts for 94% of cases and deaths caused by the disease and children under the age of five are the most affected. WHO estimates that more than 260,000 African children under the age of 5 die from malaria each year.

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“For centuries, malaria has plagued sub-Saharan Africa, causing immense personal suffering,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “We have long been waiting for an effective malaria vaccine and now, for the first time, we have a vaccine recommended for widespread use.”

The immunizing agent should be applied in 4 doses to children from 5 months of age and funding plans should be prepared by the “global health community”, informs the WHO. According to Science magazine, the vaccine will have a price of US$ 5, about R$ 27.

Edition: Arturo Hartmann

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