WHO Approves Mosquirix, World's First Malaria Vaccine; Here's What You Need To Know

WHO Approves Mosquirix, World's First Malaria Vaccine; Here's What You Need To Know

While there have been antimalarial drugs to prevent malaria but this is the first time a vaccine has been approved by authorities against the disease. Here's everything you need to know about it.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Published : October 10, 2021 1:33 PM IST

Giving people new hope in the fight against malaria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently announced the use of the first-ever malaria vaccine for children. The world's first mass malaria vaccine campaign is expected to save millions of children from contracting the disease and thousands from dying from it. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, has endorsed the RTS, S/AS01 malaria vaccine, also known as Mosquirix, created by the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Malaria Vaccine May Work When Antimalarial Drugs Have Stopped

When mosquitoes bite, they transmit the parasite Plasmodium falciparum from one person to the next. So far, our malaria prevention has consisted of wearing mosquito nets to avoid being bitten and spraying insecticide to kill mosquitos. Then there are medications that can be used to prevent or treat malaria. Antimalarial medications have become resistant to the parasite, and pesticides have become resistant to mosquitos. Nonetheless, since 2000, existing control methods have resulted in a significant reduction in malaria mortality. When all measures are beginning to fail, it is this malaria vaccine that can help control the outbreak globally.

The World Health Organization's suggestion that children at high risk of infection with P falciparum, which is ubiquitous in Africa, receive the Mosquirix vaccination is a crucial step toward eradicating the deadliest of human malaria parasites.

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Tedros tweeted, "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. Today is that day: WHO is recommending the broad use of the world's first malaria vaccine."

What Do We Know About The Malaria Vaccine?

Although there are other vaccines available for viruses and bacteria, this was the first time the WHO advised widespread use of a vaccine against a human parasite. The vaccination protects against plasmodium falciparum, the most dangerous of the five parasite species.

Mosquirix is a vaccination that is divided into "subunits." This indicates that it only contains a small portion of the malaria parasite, which is synthesised. This protein is combined with an "adjuvant," a chemical that is meant to elicit a powerful immune response. The vaccine primarily works by inducing the production of antibodies against the parasite, neutralising it, and preventing it from infecting liver cells. When a parasite enters the body, it attacks these cells first. When a different portion of the immune system responds, the vaccination also aids in mounting an inflammatory response.

About The Disease

Malaria is a parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes. Humans are infected with the parasite after being bitten by infected mosquitoes. Malaria makes people feel very sick, with a high fever and shivering chills. Some of the common symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, muscle pain, the cycles of chills, fever, and sweating. Talk to your doctor if you experience fever while living in a high-risk region or experience other severe symptoms.