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WHO announces the second malaria vaccine R21/Matrix-M soon

The WHO announces the recommendation of a second malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix-M, to combat the spread of the dangerous disease

The World Health Organization (WHO) announces the recommendation of a second malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix-M, to combat the spread of the life-threatening disease transmitted by certain mosquitoes.

S WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlights the milestone, noting that two years after recommending the first malaria vaccine, RTS,S, the organization is now endorsing R21/Matrix-M to protect children at risk of malaria.

Development and Rollout of R21/Matrix-M:

R21/Matrix-M, developed by the University of Oxford in the UK, is set to be introduced in select African nations in early 2024, with availability in other countries by mid-2024. The cost per dose is estimated to range from $2 to $4.

The WHO is currently reviewing R21/Matrix-M for prequalification, a stamp of approval that will enable the global vaccine alliance GAVI and UNICEF to procure the vaccine from manufacturers, primarily the Serum Institute of India. The vaccine utilizes Novavax’s Matrix M adjuvant.

Dengue Vaccine Recommendation: 

The WHO also recommends Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ dengue vaccine, Qdenga, for children aged six to 16 years living in regions where dengue infection poses a significant public health threat.

Takeda’s vaccine has demonstrated effectiveness against all four stereotypes of the dengue virus in individuals with prior dengue infections. However, there are lingering uncertainties regarding its performance against stereotypes 3 and 4 in individuals with no prior dengue exposure.

Simplified COVID-19 Vaccination: 

Regime The WHO’s strategic advisory group advocates for a simplified single-dose regimen for most COVID-19 vaccines. This streamlined approach aims to enhance vaccine acceptance, particularly as a large portion of the population has already received at least one prior infection.

The agency emphasizes that any monovalent or bivalent COVID-19 vaccine may be used, given the limited availability of monovalent vaccines targeting specific variants, such as the XBB.1.5 variant, which has been dominant in many regions this year.

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