The World Health Organization has endorsed the first-ever vaccine to prevent malaria. 

Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Wednesday said it was “a historic moment” debuting a tool that could save the lives of tens of thousands of children in Africa each year.

Evison and his mother after receiving his vaccine in Malawi. He was the second child vaccinated in Malawi for the malaria vaccine implementation program.

Malaria is among the oldest known and deadliest infectious diseases.

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Malaria kills about half a million people each year, nearly all of them in sub-Saharan Africa — among them 260,000 children under age 5.

The new vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, rouses a child’s immune system to thwart Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest of five malaria pathogens and the most prevalent in Africa.

The vaccine is not just a first for malaria — it is the first developed for any parasitic disease.