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.
Malaria is among the oldest known and deadliest infectious diseases.
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.