Unitaid Current Affairs - 2019
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World’s first Malaria Vaccine named RTS,S (trade name Mosquirix) was launched in Malawi, Africa on occasion of World Malaria Day (observed on 25 April). It was launched as part of pilot programme aimed at immunizing children aged 2 years and below in three African countries Malawi, Ghana and Kenya. Other two countries will launch this vaccine in coming weeks.
About Pilot Programme
- It is World Health Organization (WHO) coordinated three country pilot programme where risk of malaria is high. It aims to vaccinate 360,000 children per year with RTS,S vaccine across three countries and give them partial protection against disease. Children will be vaccinated on time with 4 required doses.
- The pilot programme is financed by collaboration of three key global health funding bodies: Gavi ( a public-private partnership Global Vaccine Alliance), Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Unitaid (global health initiative that works with partners to end world’s tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria and hepatitis C epidemics). Also, WHO, PATH and GSK will provide in-kind contributions.
About RTS,S Vaccine
- It is recombinant protein-based malaria vaccine. It is world’s first and only malaria vaccine. Its trade name is Mosquirix.
- It has been developed and manufactured by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative.
- It provides protection to only a third of children of less than 2 years age from severe malaria.
- It will act as complementary malaria control tool besides WHO-recommended core measures for malaria prevention, like routinely using insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor insecticides spraying and timely malaria testing and treatment.
- It is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites, which are transmitted by bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is one of world’s leading killer disease. It is preventable and curable.
- In 2017, about 219 million cases of malaria were reported in 87 countries, and number of malaria deaths was 435 000.
- According to WHO, African Region carries highest share of global malaria burden with home to 92% of malaria cases and 93% of malaria deaths in 2017.