The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the rollout of the first malaria vaccine in Africa.
The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who confirmed the development at a media briefing on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, said the rollout of the vaccine aimed at reducing infant mortality arising from malaria across the continent.
He said the RTS,S vaccine would be made available to countries after successful pilot programmes in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.
The RTS,S vaccine, also known as Mosquirix, was developed by the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Ghebreyesus said: “I started my career as a malaria researcher, and I longed for the day that we would have an effective vaccine against this ancient and terrible disease. And today is that day, a historic day. Today, the WHO is recommending the broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine.
“Using this vaccine in addition to existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.
“It is safe. It significantly reduces life-threatening, severe malaria, and we estimate it to be highly cost-effective.
“Malaria has been with us for millennia, and the dream of a malaria vaccine has been a long-held, but unattainable dream. Today, the RTS,S malaria vaccine, more than 30 years in the making, changes the course of public health history. We still have a very long road to travel. But this is a long stride down that road.”
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