The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed the world’s first malaria vaccine for use worldwide. The vaccine can save tens of thousands of lives annually, as malaria kills about half a million people each year, nearly all of them in sub-Saharan Africa and a majority of whom are children under 5. Developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the new Mosquirix vaccine is a non-mRNA vaccine administered over four doses. This is also the first vaccine ever developed against a parasitic disease.

Zoom In: Following clinical trials, a pilot program was administered in Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi. Mosquirix generates an immune response in children to thwart Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest of 5 malaria pathogens and the most prevalent in Africa. Despite showing limited efficacy, preventing 39% of malaria cases and 29% severe cases among small children, the new vaccine is the best new development in the fight against the disease in decades, according to some experts. However, research continues. Recently, an mRNA-based malaria vaccine developed at the University of Oxford was found to be 77% effective in early-stage trials.

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