World’s First Malaria Vaccine Launched In Malawi: Know About It

The Logical Indian Crew

April 24th, 2019 / 2:40 PM

Image Credit: WHO/Twitter

According to The World Health Organization (WHO), Malawi has launched world’s first malaria vaccine RTS,S, on Tuesday in a landmark large-scale pilot programme to immunise young children and give them partial protection against the disease.

World’s First Malaria Vaccine

Malawi is the first of three countries in Africa chosen for the pilot programme which aims to immunise 120,000 children aged two years and below. The other two countries are Ghana and Kenya, where this vaccine will be introduced in the coming weeks. The three Africa countries chosen for this pilot programme already run other programmes at a large level to prevent the disease which includes the use of bed nets. However, they still have a high number of cases. Overall 360,000 children will get vaccination. 

Malaria is a serious disease which can cause life-threatening complications. It is one of the world’s leading killers, claiming the life of one child every two minutes. 435,000 people are killed every year due to malaria which includes mostly children. It is a consistent threat in African countries. WHO reports that about 285,000 children died before their fifth birthdays in 2016. The poorest children suffer the most and are at a higher risk of death says Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. In 2015, 90% of global deaths occurred in the African region due to this disease.

The RTS,S vaccine prepares the immune system to attack the malarial parasite. The vaccine works against the most deadly malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum which is most prevalent in African countries. Although the vaccine provides protection to only a third of children of less than 2 years age from severe malaria, the clinical trials have found that the ones, who are immunised, probably develop less severe cases of the disease. Earlier, the smaller trials found that the vaccine prevented 4 in 10 cases of malaria including 3 in 10 cases of life-threatening severe malaria.

World’s First Malaria Vaccine

According to the WHO, the pilot programme aims to provide evidence to WHO policy recommendations on the broader use of this vaccine. It will also study the following key points –

  1. Reduction in child deaths
  2. Vaccine uptake, i.e. whether parents bring their children on time for the required doses.
  3. Vaccine safety in the context of routine use

To date, RTS,S is the first and the only vaccine which can significantly reduce malaria in children. This vaccine has been more than 30 years in the making. Scientists from the drug company, GSK started creating it in 1987. Numerous years of testing backed by a host of organisations, including the Path Malaria Vaccine Initiative, and costing an estimated $1bn (£770m), have led to this point. The vaccine has nearly 40% efficacy rate. Although it is not as high as of the vaccines for other diseases, it adds to the preventative measures such as bed nets and insecticides that are already being used. The vaccine targets infants because they are most at risk. The RTS,S vaccine needs to be given four times a month – once a month for three months and then a fourth dose is given 18 months later.

While talking to the BBC, Dr David Schellenberg, who has been working on the development of the vaccine with the WHO said, “Nobody is saying that this is a magic bullet. It may not sound like much but we are talking about 40% reduction in severe malaria which unfortunately still has high mortality even when you have access to good treatment.”

As per a report by The Guardian, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Unitaid are providing just under $50m (£38m) to fund the first phase of the pilots in Malawi, Kenya and Ghana.

Also Read: WHO And UNICEF Laud Govt Efforts In Containing Polio Vaccine Contamination, Calls It Safe


Written by : Jasmine Kaur (Intern)

Edited by : Bharat Nayak

Related Stories

India’s First Indigenously Designed Standing Wheelchair Launched At IIT Madras

Rotavirus Vaccine

Karnataka Govt To Provide Rs 600 Worth Rotavirus Vaccine For Free

Polio Vaccine Govt Fund

Polio Vaccine Price Hiked; Govt Seeks Rs 100 Crore From A Foreign Donor

Polio Vaccines Safe

WHO And UNICEF Laud Govt Efforts In Containing Polio Vaccine Contamination, Calls It Safe

Elon Musk Successfully Launched Tesla Car Into Space Via World’s Biggest Rocket

After Indian Govt Shelves Cervical Cancer Vaccine, WHO Asks India To Introduce It

Latest on The Logical Indian


After U-Turn On Kashmir, Labour Party Now Ready To Apologise To India For Jallianwala Massacre


Nazi Dictator Adolf Hitler’s Birth Home In Austria To Be Converted Into Police Station


Bacterial Disease Behind 17,000 Migratory Birds’ Death At Rajasthan’s Sambhar Lake


Job Creation Growth Slipped To 2.8% In 2019: CARE Ratings


Over Rs 255 Cr Spent On Chartered Flights For PM Modi’s Foreign Tours In Last 3 Yrs: MEA

My Social Responsibility

Rejected by 20 Families, A Homosexual Single Dad Adopts The Child With Down Syndrome


Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

Handpicked, newsworthy stories which deserve the attention of a rational generation.