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A Doctors Without Borders (MSF) health worker tends to a mother and her child at a mobile clinic. Photo: Saidu Bah/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Wednesday recommended the first vaccine against malaria for widespread use inoculating children in sub-Saharan Africa and other at-risk regions.

Why it matters: Malaria kills more than 400,000 people per year, more than half of them children under 5. The introduction of the first vaccine could reinvigorate the fight against the disease, which has stagnated in recent years, per the press release.

  • "Today’s recommendation offers a glimmer of hope for the continent which shoulders the heaviest burden of the disease and we expect many more African children to be protected from malaria and grow into healthy adults," Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said in the press release.

The big picture: The new vaccine is administered in four doses and has already been used to inoculate more than 800,000 children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi as part of a pilot program, per the press release.

  • Called RTS,S or Mosquirix, the new vaccine is also the first to be developed against any parasitic disease, notes the New York Times.
  • The vaccine acts against Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest malaria parasite and the most common in Africa, per the press release.
  • “This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the press release.
  • “Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year," he added.

But, but, but: The vaccine reduced severe cases of malaria by just 30%, and it's too soon to tell what impact it will have on the number of deaths, notes the Wall Street Journal.

  • It could also be years before the vaccine is widely available in sub-Saharan Africa, per the Journal.

Go deeper

Trump calls GOP politicians who withhold booster status "gutless"

Former President Trump slammed politicians who refuse to reveal whether they have received their COVID vaccine booster shots, calling them "gutless" in an interview with One American News Network.

Driving the news: While Trump did not specifically name anyone, some GOP politicians, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have dodged questions about their booster status.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, undersecretary for political affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. chargés d'affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and nonessential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

The latest: The United Kingdom's Foreign Office announced Monday it was also withdrawing some embassy staff and dependants from Ukraine's capital "in response to the growing threat from Russia," but added the British Embassy would remain open.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

U.K. PM orders inquiry into Muslim lawmaker's discrimination claim

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London, England, last week. Photo: Ian Vogler/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office announced Monday that he's ordered an inquiry into allegations from a Conservative Member of Parliament that she was fired from a ministerial job due to her Muslim faith.

Driving the news: Nusrat Ghani told the Sunday Times she was informed by a government whip that she was fired from her position as a junior transport minister in February 2020 after her "Muslimness was raised as an issue" and that her faith made colleagues feel "uncomfortable."