The World Health Organisation has approved Mosquirix, the world’s first malaria vaccine to be given to children across Africa.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called it “a historic moment” after a meeting in which two of the UN health agency’s expert advisory groups endorsed using the vaccine.
“Today’s recommendation offers a glimmer of hope for the continent, which shoulders the heaviest burden of the disease. And we expect many more African children to be protected from malaria and grow into healthy adults,” he said.
WHO said its decision was based largely on results from ongoing research in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi that tracked more than 800,000 children who have received the vaccine since 2019.
The malaria vaccine was developed by GlaxoSmithKline in 1987. While it’s the first to be authorized, it does have challenges: the vaccine is only about 30 percent effective, requires up to four doses and its protection fades after several months.
WHO said side effects were rare, but sometimes included a fever that could result in temporary convulsions.