“Malaria: The Global Fight Against a Deadly Disease”
Malaria, a devastating disease that claims the lives of over 500,000 people annually, holds an especially grim toll for young children and expectant mothers. The culprit behind its spread is the Anopheles mosquito. For decades, scientists have tirelessly endeavored to develop a preventative vaccine to combat this peril.
On the frontier of this battle, an encouraging breakthrough has emerged. The World Health Organization (WHO) has granted approval to the long-awaited RTS,S vaccine for use, effective from 2021 onwards. However, the production of this vaccine remains limited, rendering it insufficient for the large-scale prevention of malaria. Presently, the supply of RTS,S stands at a mere 18 million doses.
Historic Milestone: WHO Approves World’s First Malaria Vaccine after 30-Year Pursuit
Amidst this global health crisis, a glimmer of hope shines through. “Biontech” currently plans to develop an mRNA malaria vaccine, an undertaking that could propel progress in the field.
The dangers posed by mosquitos carrying the malaria parasite are severe, with infected individuals facing life-threatening complications. Fortunately, a recent development has surfaced. Just yesterday, on October 2nd, the WHO endorsed the utilization of a new and highly effective malaria vaccine—R21/Matrix-M. Created through the joint efforts of the University of Oxford and other researchers, this vaccine boasts an impressive 75% efficacy rate, cementing its position as the second malaria vaccine approved by the WHO.
Sharing his elation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO, remarked, “As a malaria researcher, I have always dreamed of the day when we would have a safe and effective malaria vaccine, and now we have two.” He further emphasized the significance of this milestone, as the availability of a second vaccine is expected to offer swift protection to even more children, bringing mankind closer to the goal of a malaria-free future.
Another remarkable aspect of the R21 vaccine lies in its lower price point when compared to RTS,S. The Serum Institute of India, leading vaccine manufacturers, stands ready to produce over 100 million doses of the R21 vaccine annually. Their future plans include scaling up production to reach an impressive 200 million doses per year. Remarkably, each dose is priced at a range of 2 to 4 US dollars (about 70-140 baht), making it more accessible for affected populations.
Administration of the R21 vaccine necessitates four doses, resulting in a total cost of approximately 8 to 16 US dollars (280-560 baht) per person. This price point renders it roughly half the cost of the RTS,S vaccine.
Africa, where the burden of malaria is most acute, has particular cause to celebrate this groundbreaking development. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, expressed optimism, stating, “This second malaria vaccine has real potential to close the gap between supply and demand. By ensuring widespread distribution of both vaccines, we can bolster efforts to prevent and control malaria, ultimately saving countless African youth from this deadly disease.”
With 28 African countries committed to integrating WHO-recommended malaria vaccines into their national immunization programs, progress is on the horizon. The RTS,S vaccine is expected to be available in select African nations by early 2024, followed by the anticipated introduction of the R21 malaria vaccine in mid-2024.
However, cautionary voices remind us that the availability of this new vaccine does not signify the defeat of malaria. In order to effectively combat the disease, vaccination efforts must be supplemented with complementary measures such as mosquito repellent usage and the elimination of mosquito breeding grounds.
Dr. Michael Charles, the Chief Executive of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, acknowledged this milestone as a positive step forward but also raised pertinent concerns, stating, “In the face of substantial financial deficits, the threat of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes and treatment-resistant malaria, and the impact of climate change, urgent additional investments are needed to scale up production and utilization of malaria vaccines. Only then can we ensure that countries opting for vaccine usage have unimpeded access.”
Furthermore, Professor Megan Kraischar, an esteemed expert in ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, warned that eradicating vector-borne diseases such as malaria presents significant challenges. Even with the advent of an effective vaccine, she stressed that multiple obstacles remain. These include the requirement for multiple vaccine doses to confer sufficient protection and the emergence of insecticide and drug resistance among mosquitoes and malaria parasites, respectively, rendering conventional treatments less effective.
The Global Battle Continues
Malaria, a formidable enemy that continues to plague humanity, now faces a more resolute opposition. The development of effective vaccines represents a pivotal turning point in the arduous fight against this deadly disease. Yet, the quest to conquer malaria demands persistent perseverance and vital investments, ensuring that vulnerable populations have access to life-saving solutions.
Source: The Guardian
Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP
“malaria” It is one of the deadliest diseases that kills more than 500,000 people every year, mostly children under five and pregnant women. The carrier is the Anopheles mosquito. Researchers have always tried to develop a preventive vaccine.
So far, only one malaria vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), the RTS,S vaccine, which is approved for use starting in 2021, but production is limited. This makes it insufficient to prevent malaria on a large scale. Because so far, there are only 18 million doses of RTS,S available.
WHO approves the world’s first ‘malaria vaccine’ after more than 30 years of development
“Biontech” is preparing to develop an mRNA malaria vaccine
“Malaria” the danger of mosquitoes Sick people are at risk of suffering life-threatening complications.
Most recently, yesterday (October 2), WHO approved the recommendation to use a new, highly effective malaria vaccine. That’s the vaccine. “R21/Matrix-M” developed by the University of Oxford This is the second malaria vaccine recommended by the World Health Organization and the first to be 75% effective.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said: “As a malaria researcher, I have always dreamed of the day when we would have a safe and effective malaria vaccine, and now we have two.”
He added that having a second malaria vaccine “It is expected to help protect more children more quickly. and help move us closer to a malaria-free future.”
Another highlight of the R21 vaccine is its lower price than RTS, S. A major vaccine manufacturer, Serum Institute of India, is ready to produce more than 100 million doses of R21 vaccine per year and plans to expand to 200 million doses per year in the future Each dose costs 2-4 US dollars (about 70-140 baht).
R21 vaccination requires 4 doses. The total cost per person for an R21 injection is about 8-16 USD (280-560 baht), which is about half the price of RTS,S.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said: “This second malaria vaccine has real potential to close the gap between supply and demand. Both vaccines are dosed and widely distributed. It can help support efforts to prevent and control malaria. and save hundreds of thousands of young people in Africa from this deadly disease. “
At least 28 African countries plan to adopt WHO-recommended malaria vaccines as part of their national immunization programmes.
WHO says the RTS,S vaccine will be available in some African countries in early 2024, and the R21 malaria vaccine is expected to be available in countries in mid-2024.
However, experts warn that having this new vaccine does not mean that we have defeated malaria. The vaccine should be used in conjunction with other measures such as spraying mosquito repellent. Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, etc.
Dr Michael Charles, chief executive of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, said the announcement is “a move in the right direction,” but there are still “significant hurdles to overcome.”
“In the face of huge financial deficits and the growing threat of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes and treatment-resistant malaria, and climate change, additional investment is urgently needed to scale up, produce and use malaria vaccines. This will ensure that countries that decide to use the vaccine have easy access,” he said.
Professor Megan Kraischar, an expert in ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University who studies parasites and transmission, says that it is incredibly difficult to eradicate vector-borne diseases such as malaria. Even if there is an effective vaccine
“Current and emerging malaria vaccines face many obstacles. This includes that multiple doses of the vaccine are required to create protection. Vaccines alone will not achieve the goal of eliminating malaria… in areas where malaria is common. Evolution of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes and drug resistance in malaria parasites. It makes the existing equipment less effective,” he said.
Compiled from The Guardian
Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP