All you need to know about Mosquirix, the 1st malaria vaccine endorsed by WHO

News Network
October 7, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed Mosquirix, the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine — the first and the only till date — against the mosquito-borne disease that kills more than 400,000 people a year, mostly African children.

The vaccine acts against plasmodium falciparum -- one of five malaria parasite species and the most deadly, most prevalent in Africa. The vaccine’s trial data showed that it could prevent 4 out of 10 malaria cases over a period of four years, when four doses were administered to children. Mosquirix is the first malaria vaccine which has finished its clinical development process.

Mosquirix, is not just a first for malaria; it is the first developed for any parasitic disease. Parasites are much more complex than viruses or bacteria, and the quest for a malaria vaccine has been underway for 100 years.

WHO’s approval followed a review of a pilot programme deployed since 2019 in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi in which more than two million doses were given of the vaccine, first made by the pharmaceutical company GSK in 1987.

In clinical trials, the vaccine had an efficacy of about 50 per cent against severe malaria in the first year, but the figure dropped close to zero by the fourth year. And the trials did not directly measure the vaccine’s impact on deaths, which has led some experts to question whether it is a worthwhile investment in countries with countless other intractable problems.

Malaria research is littered with vaccine candidates that never made it past clinical trials. Bed nets, the most widespread preventive measure, cut malaria deaths in children younger than 5 by only about 20%.

Against that backdrop, the new vaccine, even with modest efficacy, is the best new development in the fight against the disease in decades, some experts said.

How malaria affects the world

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

In 2019, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria worldwide and the death toll due to malaria was 4,09,000.

African regions carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2019, the region was home to 94% of malaria cases and deaths.

How to use the vaccine

WHO has recommended that in the context of comprehensive malaria control, Mosquirix be used for the prevention of P. falciparum malaria in children living in regions with moderate to high transmission. Mosquirix is to be given in three doses between ages 5 and 17 months, and a fourth dose roughly 18 months later. 

Funds for the programme were mobilised through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and Unitaid, according to WHO.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided catalytic funding for late-stage development of RTS,S between 2001 and 2015.

Germany's BioNTech, which developed a coronavirus vaccine with US giant Pfizer, also said it aimed to start trials for a malaria vaccine next year using the same breakthrough mRNA technology.

The WHO also hopes this latest recommendation will encourage scientists to develop more malaria vaccines.

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News Network
October 27,2021

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Dubai, Oct 27: Matthew Hayden has been impressed by the “sporting brotherhood” on display after Pakistan beat India to break their run of 12 losses in World Cup contests between the arch-rivals.

India captain Virat Kohli embraced Mohammad Rizwan soon after Pakistan romped to a 10-wicket win in the Twenty20 World Cup game on Sunday to start their Super 12 campaign.

Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, now a mentor with the team, smiled as he spoke with Pakistan players including captain Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik and fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani soon after the game ended.

“The thing that inspired me the most out of the performance was the fantastic sporting brotherhood,” Hayden, an intensely competitive former Australia opening batsman now working with the Pakistan’s T20 squad, said in a video message from Dubai.

The political tension between the subcontinental neighbours has resulted in the countries avoiding bilateral cricket series since Pakistan visited India in 2012-13 and played a short limited-overs series. However, they compete against each other regularly in the ICC tournaments.

Hayden said the way the Pakistan and Indian players came together was a good example “of how we should treat each other as people.”

 “That’s the role of sport, so it’s beautiful to see those moments where MS Dhoni is holding court with a few of the (Pakistan) players and Virat Kohli and (Rizwan), you know, in brotherhood, joining hands after there was heated battles in the middle.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board appointed Hayden as a batting consultant and South African Vernon Philander as a bowling consultant for the T20 World Cup after head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis stepped down.

Hayden joined the squad in the UAE, following his stint as a commentator in the Indian Premier League which ended two days before the World Cup began on October 17

Following Pakistan’s record-breaking win, Babar reminded his teammates to stay focused on winning the World Cup instead of getting carried away with the win over India.

“Great humility from our perspective inside the change rooms, not getting carried away too much with the celebrations, but just this great humility, this great sense of spirit and great sense of purpose,” he said.

Fast bowler Shaheen Afridi’s burst in his opening two overs provided Pakistan with the key wickets of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul and helped restrict India to 151-7. Afridi also went on to take the wicket of top-scorer Kohli in his return spell.

For Hayden, it was a prime example of what Pakistan’s pacemen are capable of producing.

“Pakistan has velocity in abundance, not just here but also back home that aren’t celebrating in this World Cup,” he said. “Shaheen really is that one leader within the bowling group ... nothing beats velocity, mixed up with some skill.”

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News Network
October 17,2021

Bengaluru, Oct 17: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday hinted at reducing cess and sales tax on petrol and diesel in the state to ease the fuel prices which have touched an all-time high.

Speaking to the media, Bommai said it all depends on the economy. "I have called an economic review meeting. If the economic situation seems to be good, there is possibility for the consideration," he added.

Earlier, the Chief Minister had rejected any tax deduction on fuel in the state. The petrol price has reached Rs 109.16 per litre and diesel price has touched Rs 100 in Karnataka.

The Opposition Congress has demanded a reduction of taxes on fuel on similar lines of the Tamil Nadu government which has reduced the taxes on petrol by Rs 3 per litre.

The Congress has blamed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party governments for the hike in fuel prices.

Bommai had defended that during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, fuel prices had increased by 60 per cent between 2004 and 2014 while fuel prices have risen by 30 per cent in seven years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah targeted the present BJP government, saying that inflation under its tenure is nothing but criminal loot. 

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News Network
October 27,2021

Bengaluru, Oct 27: All state-run temples and religious institutions under the Muzrai department have been directed to conduct a ‘gau puja’ (cow worship) on the occasion of Deepavali/Bali Padyami on November 5. 

In a circular, the department has asked temples to worship the cow in a traditional manner during the godhuli lagna between 5.30 pm and 6.30 pm on the day.

The circular was issued following directions from Muzrai Minister Shashikala Jolle.

“Of late, people in towns and cities have forgotten gau puja. It is only appropriate to identify at least one day in a year where the cow is worshipped in line with the Sanatana Hindu Dharma’s view of the cow as gaumata and to introduce the concept of gau puja to future generations,” the circular stated. 

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