African Union to start talks with WHO on malaria vaccine deployment on continent

A logo is pictured outside a World Health Organization (WHO) building during a board meeting on the update on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Geneva, Switzerland, April 6, 2021. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse / File Photo

NAIROBI, Oct. 7 (Reuters) – Africa will begin talks with the World Health Organization to get the continent’s first approved malaria vaccine as soon as possible, the top health official said Thursday. ‘African Union, amid calls for funding for drugs beyond COVID -19.

John Nkengasong spoke a day after the WHO said the RTS, S – or Mosquirix – developed by British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) should be widely distributed to children in Africa. Experts said the recommendation was potentially a major breakthrough against a disease that kills a quarter of a million African children each year. Read more

“We will be engaging with GAVI (the vaccine alliance) and WHO in the coming days to first understand the availability of this vaccine,” said Nkengasong, director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( Africa CDC), press conference.

He urged donors not to play a zero-sum game “where we fund COVID vaccines and neglect malaria vaccines.”

He said it was not clear when the vaccine will be accessible in the many African countries where malaria is endemic as the cost per dose is not known and it is not clear how quickly production can be. increased.

GSK has so far committed to produce 15 million doses of Mosquirix per year until 2028 at a production cost plus a margin of no more than 5%.

A global market study conducted by the WHO this year predicted that the demand for a malaria vaccine would be 50 to 110 million doses per year by 2030 if it is deployed in areas with moderate to moderate transmission. elevated disease.

Nkengasong said WHO’s decision to recommend wide use of the malaria vaccine should be celebrated, calling malaria a major killer in Africa. He noted that by the end of 2021, malaria will likely have killed many more people in Africa, especially children, than COVID-19 this year on the continent.

Mosquirix has been around for 30 years.

A pilot program coordinated by WHO in three African countries has already administered 2.3 million doses of vaccine since 2019.

GAVI will review in December whether and how to fund the immunization program.

Reporting by Maggie Fick Editing by Frances Kerry

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