STAT October 17, 2021
Fredros Okumu

Historic yet imperfect. That’s how I think of the World Health Organization’s recent endorsement of the long-awaited malaria vaccine, officially known as RTS,S/AS01, or simply as RTS,S.

This recommendation follows careful determination by two of the WHO’s high-level advisory panels, one on immunization and another on malaria, that RTS,S provides significant protection against disease and deaths and that it is safe and cost-effective.

That’s a huge step forward for a disease with 230 million cases in 2019, the last year with compete statistics, one that killed 409,000 people. Although malaria is most common in sub-Saharan Africa, it is also endemic in southeast Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, western Pacific, and Central and South America.

The WHO’s final recommendation follows an ongoing...

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