The arrival of the first malaria vaccines It raises hopes that the disease, which killed nearly 630,000 people globally in 2020, mostly children under the age of five, can be eradicated in sub-Saharan Africa. The The New York Times reported .this week.
The story presented the challenges, including overcoming the logistical problems of distributing vaccines, medicines, and bed nets across the rugged terrain of African countries; balancing other health priorities; and overcoming the misinformation that often surrounds the deployment of new vaccines.
Vaccines: World Health Organization Recommended the first malaria vaccine a year ago. More than three decades in the making, Mosquirix cost more than $200 million to develop and is the world’s first vaccine against a disease caused by parasites. But it is 30 percent effective in preventing hospitalization, and it probably won’t reach African children until late 2023 due to severe supply constraints.
Experts bet on a second vaccine The Oxford University team is developing. The malaria vaccine has shown up to 80 percent efficacy in clinical trials and could be a game-changer, but it’s still at least a year away.
And more preventative tools are also being developed: an mRNA vaccine from BioNTech, the German company that worked with Pfizer on the Covid-19 vaccine, and a monoclonal antibody that can prevent malaria for at least six months.
Beyond the footage: Mosquitoes spread disease, so killing them is part of the solution.
Mosquito nets covered with long-acting insecticides or chemicals that paralyze mosquitoes.
Researchers at Imperial College London genetically modified mosquitoes To prevent them from transmitting malaria.
One early clinical trial used mosquitoes to deliver an experimental malaria vaccine. NPR . reported.
resource shortage: Gavi, the international vaccine alliance, has committed $155 million to deploy Mosquirix, and UNICEF has awarded vaccine manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline a $170 million contract to produce 18 million doses over the next three years.
This is far from the estimated 100 million doses required annually.
Abdel Rahman Diallo, the former Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership He pointed out that there is a funding shortfall of $2.6 billion for malaria prevention tools.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which funds bed nets and medicines, Fell short last month of the fundraising goal of $18 billion for the next three years. Instead, it got commitments of $14.2 billion, roughly the same as it had three years ago.
Logistic problems: Mosquirix must be given in four doses, between the ages of 5 months and 18 months, but many parents in Africa struggle to get their children to a clinic.
Distrust of vaccines is also high. in single scanAbout half of the people in Niger and the Democratic Republic of the Congo said they did not trust the malaria vaccine.
we took: Eradication of malaria is still a long way off. The campaign to eradicate polio, for which vaccines have been found for more than six decades, Started 35 years ago.
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President Joe Biden wanted To demonstrate America’s renewed commitment to international cooperation in the field of health when Surgeon General nominated Vivek Murthy The Executive Board of the World Health Organization this week.
But the reaction on Twitter was not as positive as Biden wanted. Some in the public health world saw an insult to Lewis Pace, the assistant secretary for global affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services. Pace was the face of management on the WHO’s Executive Board.
Pace is the first woman of color to hold this position.
The White House described Murthy as a “renowned physician, research scientist, businessman, and author,” and noted his leading position as the first general surgeon of Indian origin. Murthy’s nomination was part of Biden’s Efforts to Repair the U.S. Relationship with the World Health Organization In the wake of former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the international body to protest its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The White House said future pulse The United States has two roles in the World Health Organization, the role that Murthy would occupy if he won Senate approval and Pace’s role as United States delegate.
Pace is ineligible to sit on the WHO Board of Directors on a permanent basis because he US rules require Members of the US Board of Directors must have degrees with at least three years of experience in practice.
That didn’t go well with some Twitterati.