The RTS,S vaccine recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) has been found effective in preventing malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum parasite, a researcher from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) has said.
“The RTS,S vaccine is only for malaria caused by Plasmodium (P) falciparum, but for other species that cause malaria, it has not yet been proven effective,” Arif Nurkanto told ANTARA here on Friday.
Currently, malaria cases are primarily caused by P falciparum, so the discovery of a vaccine is good news for those making efforts to mitigate malaria, he remarked. However, the vaccine will not necessarily be effective against other types of malaria parasites, he said.
For instance, in Indonesia, there are also cases of malaria caused by another parasite, namely the Plasmodium vivax, he added.
Nurkanto expressed the hope that the vaccine would prove useful for preventing malaria caused by P vivax. But treating malaria caused by P vivax would require a more specific vaccine, he admitted.
In addition to vaccination, an elimination program should be conducted along with malaria vector control since malaria has remained a global problem, particularly in the tropical and sub-Saharan region for more than 150 years, he said.
The WHO has recommended widespread use of RTS,S/AS01 or RTS,S malaria vaccine for children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high infection rate of P falciparum malaria.
This recommendation is based on the results of a pilot program being conducted in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi involving more than 800 thousand children since 2019.
“This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health, and malaria control,” WHO’s director general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, affirmed on WHO’s official website, which was accessed by ANTARA on Friday.
“Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year,” he remarked.
Source: Antara News