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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

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
9 hours ago - Health

COVID vaccines for kids are getting closer

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Millions of kids under 12 could begin getting COVID-19 shots "within the first week or two of November," NIAID director Anthony Fauci said on ABC News' "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" over the weekend.

Why it matters: This would be a major milestone for getting approximately 28 million more kids protected as they prepare to gather with family during the holidays and spend more time indoors due to cold weather.

2 hours ago - Sports

Unvaccinated athletes face 21-day quarantine at Beijing Olympics

Logos for the 2022 Winter Olympics at Yanqing Ice Festival in February 2021 in Beijing. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Athletes, staff members and journalists at the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will be required to quarantine for three weeks, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) outlined in its newly-published "playbooks."

Why it matters: The quarantine period is longer than the Games themselves, meaning vaccinations or an earlier arrival date will be required to participate in or cover the Games.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.