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Millions more children to benefit from world’s first malaria vaccine: United Nations Children’s International Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

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  Pharmaceutical company GSK has been awarded a contract to produce the world s first malaria vaccine so that millions more children are protected against the deadly disease the United Nations Children s Fund UNICEF announced on Tuesday The landmark award valued at up to 170 million will result in 18 million doses of the RTS S vaccine being made available over the next three years potentially saving the lives of thousands of young people each year Malaria remains one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of five In 2020 almost half a million children died from the disease in Africa alone at a rate of one death per minute Etleva Kadilli UNICEF Supply Division Director said the launch sends a clear message to malaria vaccine developers to continue their work We hope this is just the beginning Continued innovation is needed to develop new and next generation vaccines to increase the available supply and enable a healthier vaccine market she said This is a major step forward in our collective efforts to save children s lives and reduce the burden of malaria as part of broader malaria prevention and control programs Preventable disease Malaria is caused by parasites and is transmitted to humans through infected female Anopheles mosquitoes While the disease is preventable and curable it can be fatal if left untreated More than 30 countries have areas with moderate to high malaria transmission according to data from the World Health Organization WHOOpens in a new window and the vaccine could provide additional protection to more than 25 million children each year a once the supply increases The RTS S malaria vaccine the result of 35 years of research and development is the first vaccine against a parasitic disease Pilot program It was launched in a 2019 pilot program coordinated by the WHO in three countries Ghana Kenya and Malawi which has reached more than 800 000 children Last October the UN health agency recommended Opens in new window for widespread use in countries with moderate to high malaria transmission That December Gavi the Vaccine Alliance made the decision to provide funding for malaria vaccine programs in eligible countries thus paving the way for broader implementation of the vaccine Funding window opened CEO Seth Barkley reported that Gavi recently opened the application window for funding requests Thanks to UNICEF s procurement work we now have more certainty about supply and can go one step further in getting this life saving vaccine to the people who need it most As manufacturing increases over time we expect that increased volumes will also lead to lower and more sustainable prices he said Meanwhile the WHO has welcomed progress in ensuring timely supply and access to the vaccine so that more countries can introduce it as soon as possible Lives are at stake every day said Dr Kate O Brien director of WHO s Department of Immunization Vaccines and Biologicals Given the limited initial supply it is crucial that children who live in areas where disease risk and need are highest are prioritized first High demand expected UNICEF expects demand for the malaria vaccine to be high among affected countries As with any new vaccine supply will be limited at first the agency said but will increase as manufacturing capacity increases over time which in turn will lead to lower costs per dose Plans are already underway to boost production including through technology transfer UNICEF added so that every child at risk will one day have a chance to be immunized against this deadly disease
Millions more children to benefit from world’s first malaria vaccine: United Nations Children’s International Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

1 Pharmaceutical company GSK has been awarded a contract to produce the world’s first malaria vaccine so that millions more children are protected against the deadly disease, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced on Tuesday.

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2 The landmark award, valued at up to $170 million, will result in 18 million doses of the RTS,S vaccine being made available over the next three years, potentially saving the lives of thousands of young people each year.

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3 Malaria remains one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of five.

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4 In 2020, almost half a million children died from the disease in Africa alone, at a rate of one death per minute.

5 Etleva Kadilli, UNICEF Supply Division Director, said the launch sends a clear message to malaria vaccine developers to continue their work.

6 “We hope this is just the beginning.

7 Continued innovation is needed to develop new and next-generation vaccines to increase the available supply and enable a healthier vaccine market,” she said.

8 “This is a major step forward in our collective efforts to save children’s lives and reduce the burden of malaria as part of broader malaria prevention and control programs.”

9 Preventable disease Malaria is caused by parasites and is transmitted to humans through infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

10 While the disease is preventable and curable, it can be fatal if left untreated.

11 More than 30 countries have areas with moderate to high malaria transmission, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHOOpens in a new window), and the vaccine could provide additional protection to more than 25 million children each year a once the supply increases.

12 The RTS,S malaria vaccine, the result of 35 years of research and development, is the first vaccine against a parasitic disease.

13 Pilot program It was launched in a 2019 pilot program, coordinated by the WHO, in three countries – Ghana, Kenya and Malawi – which has reached more than 800,000 children.

14 Last October, the UN health agency recommended Opens in new window for widespread use in countries with moderate to high malaria transmission.

15 That December, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, made the decision to provide funding for malaria vaccine programs in eligible countries, thus paving the way for broader implementation of the vaccine.

16 Funding ‘window’ opened CEO Seth Barkley reported that Gavi recently opened the ‘application window’ for funding requests.

17 “Thanks to UNICEF’s procurement work, we now have more certainty about supply and can go one step further in getting this life-saving vaccine to the people who need it most.

18 As manufacturing increases over time, we expect that increased volumes will also lead to lower and more sustainable prices,” he said.

19 Meanwhile, the WHO has welcomed progress in ensuring timely supply and access to the vaccine so that more countries can introduce it as soon as possible.

20 “Lives are at stake every day,” said Dr. Kate O‘Brien, director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals.

21 “Given the limited initial supply, it is crucial that children who live in areas where disease risk and need are highest are prioritized first.” High demand expected UNICEF expects demand for the malaria vaccine to be high among affected countries.

22 As with any new vaccine, supply will be limited at first, the agency said, but will increase as manufacturing capacity increases over time, which in turn will lead to lower costs per dose.

23 Plans are already underway to boost production, including through technology transfer, UNICEF added, “so that every child at risk will one day have a chance to be immunized against this deadly disease.”

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