‘We hope this is just the beginning’: UNCIEF secures first malaria vaccine supply, says will benefit millions

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with its aim to fight malaria, has awarded GSK, a pharmaceutical firm, the first ever supply of a malaria vaccine with a potential value of $170 million.

According to a statement given by the UN agency, this historic grant will make 18 million doses of RTS,S available for the following three years, potentially saving thousands of lives each year.

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Etleva Kadilli, director of the UN agency’s supply division, said that this vaccine deployment is a message to the vaccine developers to continue with their efforts, as the vaccines are required and demanded.

Kadilli said, “We hope this is just the beginning. Continued innovation is needed to develop new and next-generation vaccines to increase available supply, and enable a healthier vaccine market. This is a giant step forward in our collective efforts to save children’s lives and reduce the burden of malaria as part of wider malaria prevention and control programme,” PTI reported.

According to the child welfare agency, this contract is the result of 18 months of extensive planning and engagement by others. The afflicted nations are anticipated to have significant demand for the malaria vaccine.

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RTS,S the first ever vaccination against a parasitic disease, is the result of 35 years of study and development. The vaccine protects against Plasmodium falciparum, the malaria parasite that causes the worst cases worldwide, mostly in Africa.

When its availability increases, the vaccine can offer additional protection against malaria to approximately 25 million children each year in more than 30 countries with moderate to high malaria transmission.

(With inputs from agencies)

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