The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday approved the world’s first malarial vaccine. The global health regulating body said that it should be given to children across Africa with the expectation that it will slow down the spread of the parasitic illness.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO chief general, said; “I started my career as a malarial researcher and had longed for the day that we would have an effective vaccine against this terrible disease. Today is that day. A historic day. Today the WHO is recommending the broad use of the world’s first malarial vaccine.”
About the malarial vaccine
The RTS,S immunization, also called Mosquirix, was created by the British pharmaceutical organization GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). It is administrated to more than 800,000 kids in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi since the test run program started in 2019. The vaccine, which went through extended clinical trials, has limited efficacy. It prevented 39% of malarial cases and 29% of serious malarial cases among children in Africa over four years of clinical trials.
Clinical trials findings
The above-mentioned clinical trials results suggest that the efficacy of the drug is a whole lot lower than that of the vaccines approved for most other childhood illnesses. The measles immunization, by correlation, is 97% powerful. Whereas, the chickenpox vaccine forestalls 85% of cases and almost 100% of severe cases.
Yet, with malaria killing a huge number of individuals consistently, even the least efficacious effective vaccine can be a lifesaver for many individuals. Ongoing investigations displaying the effects of a widespread Mosquirix rollout suggest that 5.3 million cases and 24,000 deaths could be avoided if we are able to fetch the vaccine to the 30 million people annually.
Safety profile and cost-effective
The immunization is given in a series of four shots — for three consecutive months, and the last shot a year later. The effectiveness of booster shots is being tested. With more than 2 million shots administered in the pilot projects to date, very few effects have been reported so far. So the vaccine’s safety profile looks great. The vaccine is also cost-effective, which costs around $5 per dose.
Why is malaria so dangerous?
Whenever an infected mosquito bites an individual the Plasmodium parasite enters the circulatory system and goes to the liver. The infection then develops in the liver before reemerging in the blood circulatory system and attacking red blood cells. Parasites are then able to grow and duplicate in red blood cells, which then burst at multiple intervals – generally every 48 to 72 hours.
At every burst, the patient experienced a spike in fever, accompanied by chills and sweating. The first Symptoms also include migraines, which generally show up 10 to 15 days after the mosquito bite. In case, malaria remains untreated in the initial 24 hours, it can turn out to be extremely severe and fatal. Children with extreme diseases show symptoms like; anemia, breathing issues, or cerebral malaria, which is when the infection spreads to the brain. In grown-ups, the malarial infection can cause different organs failure.
Mosquitox – The approved malarial vaccine
Clinical trials of the recent WHO-supported Mosquirix vaccine have demonstrated to prevent three of every 10 fatal cases.
Another vaccine called, R21/Lattice M is under development phase by the group at Oxford College. The same group also developed the AstraZeneca Coronavirus jab.
Mosquirix becomes the only vaccine recognized by the World Health Organisation, to date. It implies that it’s the world’s best shot at eliminating malaria in the coming years.