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EU approves first malaria vaccine

Children suffering from malaria are treated at Phnom Penh’s Kantha Bopha Children’s hospital in 2013.
Children suffering from malaria are treated at Phnom Penh’s Kantha Bopha Children’s hospital in 2013. Hong Menea

EU approves first malaria vaccine

The World Health Organization announced on Friday that it expects to make a policy recommendation this year for the world’s first malaria vaccine, which, if introduced in Cambodia’s, could aid in the eventual elimination of the virus, the Kingdom’s malaria program head said yesterday.

The vaccine Mosquirix, which was developed by drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, is currently being evaluated by the WHO after getting a green light from Europe’s drug regulator that it’s safe to use in children aged 6 weeks to 17 months in Africa.

“Having a malaria vaccine will certainly help in blocking or interrupting the transmission of the virus between most people but until we hear from the WHO, we can’t introduce it yet,” said Cambodia National Malaria Center (CNM) director Dr Rekol Huy.

The WHO is expected to deliver an assessment on the vaccine’s use by November. According to the WHO’s 2014 World Malaria Report, malaria continues to pose a risk to 44 per cent of Cambodia’s population.

These numbers, Huy said, are expected to rise given that CNM has been expanding its case documentation.

“The vaccine could be a great help in eliminating the disease . . . but since it’s being rolled out first in Africa, we have to see if it’s a good fit for Cambodia.”

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