World’s first Malaria vaccine introduced in Africa

World Health Organization (WHO) announces the introduction of the first malaria vaccine in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi.

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According to WHO, accounting for 92 percent of the 429,000 people killed worldwide in 2015, Africa is by far the most affected by malaria. The RTS,S vaccine helps the immune system by training it to attack the malaria parasite, which is spread by mosquito bites.

According to BBC,  the vaccine -starting in 2018- needs to be given four times, once a month for three months and then a fourth dose 18 months later.

Ghana, Kenya and Malawi were chosen even though they have programmes such as the use of bed nets to treat malaria, as they still have a high numbers of cases.

The vaccine might save tens of thousands of lives, as per WHO. Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said, “The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news.”

He added, “Information gathered in the pilot programme will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine.”

The pilot deployment of vaccine will involve more than 750,000 children between the age of five and 17 months.

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