World Health Organization recommends use of first malaria vaccine for children
The World Health Organization has endorsed the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine, the first against the mosquito-borne disease that kills more than 400,000 people a year, mostly African children.
The decision followed a review of a pilot programme deployed since 2019 in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi where more than two million doses were given of the vaccine, first made by the pharmaceutical company GSK in 1987.
Children across much of Africa are to be vaccinated against malaria in a historic moment in the fight against the deadly disease.
Malaria has been one of the biggest scourges on humanity for millennia and mostly kills babies and infants, and having a vaccine – after more than a century of trying – is among medicine’s greatest achievements.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said it was “a historic moment”.
Many vaccines exists against viruses and bacteria but this was the first time that the WHO recommended for broad use a vaccine against a human parasite.