Can the new vaccine bring malaria under control? | In Focus podcast

A health worker prepares a malaria vaccination. World Health Organization (WHO) approved using the malaria vaccine, Mosquirix, on children between 5-month to 5-year old. | Photo Credit: AFP
Zubeda Hamid 23 October 2021 17:45 IST
Updated: 23 October 2021 17:45 IST

Dr Daniel Chandramohan speaks to us on the effectiveness of Mosquirix

The world's first malaria vaccine is here. The World Health Organisation, earlier this month, endorsed RTS,S/AS01 or Mosquirix, developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. The vaccine, which acts against P. falciparum, believed to be most deadly malaria parasite globally, took nearly 30 years to make.

Malaria is an ancient disease — it has been around for centuries, affecting populations around the world. Though many countries have been successful in eliminating the disease, which is caused by a parasite and transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, it still continues to affect some countries in Africa and Asia.

In 2019, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria, with 94% of the burden in the African region. About 67% of the deaths were of children under the age of 5.


India, according to the WHO, recorded a significant decrease in its malaria burden, with cases declining from 20 million in the year 2000 to about 5.6 million in 2019. Deaths too, have decreased. But India still accounts for over 80 percent of all malaria cases in the SE Asia region. It also bears the largest burden of Plasmodium vivax in the world at 3.5 million cases a year -- a parasite for which a vaccine has not yet been found.

How will the vaccine help combat malaria globally? How effective is it? Will other malaria control measures continue to be needed?

Guest: Dr Daniel Chandramohan, professor of public health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Host: Zubeda Hamid