According to the WHO, the RTS malaria vaccine, S / AS01, produced by the British pharmaceutical multinational GlaxoSmithKline, is expected to be distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa, following the success of the pilot immunization programs in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. For Tedros, this serum “could save tens of thousands of young lives every year”, considering that malaria accounts for about 230 million cases and 400,000 deaths a year, and that in 2019 more than 260,000 children died of the disease alone. In Africa.
Trials in 2015 showed that the vaccine could prevent about four out of ten cases of malaria, three out of ten severe cases, and lead to a one-third reduction in the number of children in need of blood transfusions. However, there were doubts that the vaccine would work because it requires four doses to be effective: the first three to be given one month apart at five, six and seven months of age, with a final booster at around 18 months.
The results of the pilot projects were discussed today by two expert groups at WHO, after more than 2.3 million doses administered, and showed that the vaccine is safe and still leads to a 30% reduction in severe malaria. In addition, it has reached more than two-thirds of children who do not have a mosquito net to sleep under, and there has been no negative impact on other routine vaccines or other measures to prevent malaria.