Ghana has become the first country to approve a new malaria vaccine, a possible step forwarding in fighting the disease.  

This is the second malaria vaccine to be approved, following RTS,S which is currently recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to WHO, 100 million doses are needed annually to cover 25 million children but, due to lack of funding and commercial potential, RTS,S manufacturer GSK has only committed to 15 million doses each year up to 2028. 

A second vaccine is urgently needed. 

Malaria kills more than 600,000 people each year. In 2021, there were an estimated 247 million cases of malaria with 95% of cases occurring in the WHO African Region. Children under 5 are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria. 

Malaria vaccines have taken decades to develop due to the complicated structure of the malaria parasite. 

Final-stage trial data for the R21 vaccine is yet to be published and regulatory bodies including the World Health Organization are still assessing the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. 

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