THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

WHO advisory groups recommend administration of first malaria vaccine

WHO advisory groups recommend pilot applications for first malaria vaccine | Courtesy of myvmc.org
The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), joined the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) in recommending the first malaria vaccine for pilot implementation.

The vaccine is called RTS,S and requires four doses for effectiveness. The first four doses are administered one month apart. Then there is an 18-month pause before the children receive their fourth dose. If the children don’t receive the last dose, the vaccine will not notably reduce the chances of contracting malaria.

This fact could affect the overall effectiveness of the vaccine because the children would need more contact with their local health care systems.

“This was a historic meeting with two of WHO’s major advisory committees working together to consider current evidence about this vaccine,” MPAC's acting Chair Fred Binka said. “The committees agreed that pilot implementations should be the next step with this vaccine.”

The goal of the pilot projects is to better understand how the vaccine can be best used in ways that protect young children from contracting malaria.

“The question about how the malaria vaccine may best be delivered still need to be answered,” SAGE Chair Jon Abramson said. “After detailed assessment of all the evidence we recommended that this question is best addressed by having three to five large pilot implementation projects.”

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