World’s first malaria vaccine approved

 

2005 James Gathany, Frank Collins This photograph depicts a Anopheles funestus mosquito partaking in a blood meal from its human host. Note the blood passing through the proboscis, which has penetrated the skin, and entered a miniscule cutaneous blood vessel. The Anopheles funestus mosquito, which along with Anopheles gambiae, is one of the two most important malaria vectors in Africa, where more than 80% of the world's malarial disease and deaths occurs. Humans infected with malaria parasites can develop a wide range of symptoms. These vary from asymptomatic infections, i.e., no apparent illness, to the classic symptoms of malaria including fever, chills, sweating, headaches, muscle pains, to severe complications such as cerebral malaria, anemia, and kidney failure, and even death. The severity of the symptoms depends on several factors, including the species of infecting parasite, and the infected humanís acquired immunity and genetic background.
The world’s first malaria vaccine has received a green light from European drugs regulators who recommended it should be licensed for use in babies in Africa who are at risk of the mosquito-borne disease.
The shot, called RTS,S or Mosquirix, would be the first licensed human vaccine against a parasitic disease and could help prevent millions of cases of malaria in countries that use it.
The vaccine was developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative,
Recommendations for a drug licence made by the European Medicines Agency are normally endorsed by the European Commission within a couple of months.
Mosquirix, also part-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will also now be assessed by the World Health Organisation, which has promised to give its guidance on when and where it should be used before the end of this year.
Malaria killed an estimated 584,000 people in 2013, the vast majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
More than 80 percent of malaria deaths are in children under the age of five.
Andrew Witty, GSK’s chief executive, said EMA’s positive recommendation was a further important step towards making the world’s first malaria vaccine available for young children.
“While RTS,S on its own is not the complete answer to malaria, its use alongside those interventions currently available such as bed nets and insecticides would provide a very meaningful contribution to controlling the impact of malaria on children in those African communities that need it the most,” he said in a statement.
[Punch]
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