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Science & Tech

October 3, 2023 10:19 AM IST

WHO recommends second malaria vaccine, roll out in 2024 in some African countries

Dengue Vaccine | Serum Institute | Malaria Vaccine | Second Malaria Vaccine | R21/Matrix-M

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday recommended the use of a second malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix-M, for the prevention of this deadly disease in children.

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking during a media briefing with the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, reflected on the progress made since the recommendation of the first malaria vaccine, RTS,S, exactly two years ago.

He also expressed his excitement as a malaria researcher, stating that he used to dream of the day when a safe and effective malaria vaccine would exist, and now there are two.

This new vaccine is scheduled to be introduced in several African countries in early 2024, with wider availability by mid-2024, and it will be priced at $2 to $4 per dose.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, stressed the significance of this recommendation for the continent. She emphasized that the second vaccine has the potential to bridge the gap between supply and demand, and when deployed at scale, it can strengthen malaria prevention and control efforts, ultimately saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people in Africa.

The R21/Matrix-M vaccine, responsible for manufacturing by the Serum Institute of India, has already received approval for use in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Additionally, WHO has also provided its recommendation for Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ dengue vaccine, specifically for children aged six to 16 living in regions where dengue is a significant public health concern.

These initiatives represent crucial steps in the fight against these life-threatening diseases.

(Inputs from Reuters)

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