Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

Mosquirix: First malaria vaccine to get WHO nod

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Malaria and it vaccines

Mains level : Malaria menace in India

In a historic move, the World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed the first anti-malarial vaccine, as mankind enters a key turning point in a battle waged relentlessly over decades between man and mosquito, the vector.

Mosquirix

  • RTS,S/ASO1 (RTS.S), trade name Mosquirix acts against P. falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite globally, and the most prevalent in Africa.
  • The vaccine was able to prevent approximately 4 in 10 cases of malaria over a 4-year period in Africa.
  • This is the first malaria vaccine that has completed the clinical development process.
  • It is also the first malaria vaccine to be introduced by three national ministries of health through their childhood immunization programs — more than 800,000 children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.
  • have been vaccinated, and are benefiting from the added protection provided by the vaccine as part of a pilot program.

How the vaccine can help?

  • WHO’s recommendation is based on the advice of its two global advisory bodies, one for immunization and the other for malaria.
  • WHO has recommended that in the context of comprehensive malaria control, the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine be used for the prevention of P. falciparum malaria in children living in regions with moderate to high transmission as defined by it.
  • The malaria vaccine should be provided in a schedule of 4 doses in children from 5 months of age for the reduction of malaria disease and burden.

Back2Basics: Malaria

  • Malaria is caused by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito if the mosquito itself is infected with a malarial parasite.
  • There are five kinds of malarial parasites — Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax (the commonest ones), Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium knowlesi.
  • Therefore, to say that someone has contracted the Plasmodium ovale type of malaria means that the person has been infected by that particular parasite.
  • Malaria is treated with prescription drugs to kill the parasite. Chloroquine is the preferred treatment for any parasite that is sensitive to the drug.

Countries that have eliminated malaria

  • Globally, the elimination net is widening, with more countries moving towards the goal of zero malaria.
  • In 2019, 27 countries reported fewer than 100 indigenous cases of the disease, up from 6 countries in 2000.
  • Countries that have achieved at least 3 consecutive years of zero indigenous cases of malaria are eligible to apply for the WHO certification of malaria elimination.
  • 11 countries have been certified as malaria-free: United Arab Emirates (2007), Morocco (2010), Turkmenistan (2010), Armenia (2011), Sri Lanka (2016), Kyrgyzstan (2016), Paraguay (2018), Uzbekistan (2018), Algeria (2019), Argentina (2019), and El Salvador (2021).

Burden of Malaria in India

  • In 2018, the National Vector-borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) estimated that approximately 5 lakh people suffered from malaria.
  • 63% of the cases were of Plasmodium falciparum.
  • The recent World Malaria Report 2020 said cases in India dropped from about 20 million in 2000 to about 5.6 million in 2019.

 

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