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Ghana News

Ghana Approves Malaria Vaccine in Children

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Ghana has become the first country in the world to approve a new malaria vaccine called R21, which has been described by scientists as a “world-changer.” The vaccine, which has been assessed by Ghana’s drug regulators, is highly effective, unlike previous ventures in the field. The World Health Organization is also considering approving the vaccine.

Malaria is a deadly disease that claims the lives of about 620,000 people every year, most of them young children. Developing a vaccine to protect the body from the malaria parasite has been a scientific challenge for over a century.

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In preliminary studies in Burkina Faso, the R21 vaccine was up to 80% effective when given as three initial doses and a booster a year later. However, widespread use of the vaccine hinges on the results of a larger trial involving nearly 5,000 children.

Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority, which has seen the data, has approved the vaccine’s use in children aged between five months and three years old. Other African countries are also studying the data, and the World Health Organization is considering approving the vaccine.

The Serum Institute of India is preparing to produce between 100-200 million doses per year, with a vaccine factory being constructed in Accra, Ghana. Each dose of R21 is expected to cost a couple of dollars.

Prof Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, where the vaccine was invented, said, “We expect R21 to make a major impact on malaria mortality in children in the coming years, and in the longer term [it] will contribute to the overall final goal of malaria eradication and elimination.”

The CEO of the Serum Institute, Adar Poonawalla, said, “Developing a vaccine to greatly impact this huge disease burden has been extraordinarily difficult… Ghana, as the first country to approve the vaccine, represents a significant milestone in our efforts to combat malaria around the world.”

In conclusion, the approval of the R21 malaria vaccine in Ghana is a significant milestone in the fight against malaria. With the vaccine’s effectiveness in protecting children from the disease, many more lives are expected to be saved. Other African countries and the World Health Organization should follow Ghana’s lead in approving the vaccine to combat the high mortality rate from malaria.

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