WHO recommends second malaria vaccine for children

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus looks on during a press conference on the World Health Organization's 75th anniversary in Geneva, on April 6, 2023. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus looks on during a press conference on the World Health Organization's 75th anniversary in Geneva, on April 6, 2023. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)

The World Health Organization says that its experts have recommended a second malaria vaccine for children, R21/Matrix-M, developed by Britain’s Oxford University.

The R21/Matrix-M vaccine is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and has already been approved for use in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria.

“As a malaria researcher, I used to dream of the day we would have a safe and effective vaccine against malaria. Now we have two,” says WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

In 2021, the RTS,S vaccine, produced by British pharmaceutical giant GSK, became the first to be recommended by the WHO to prevent malaria in children in areas with moderate to high malaria transmission.

The WHO’s regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, says the new vaccine held great potential for the continent by helping to close the huge demand-and-supply gap.

“Delivered to scale and rolled out widely, the two vaccines can help bolster malaria prevention and control efforts and save hundreds of thousands of young lives in Africa from this deadly disease,” she says.

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