The WHO approved the world’s first malaria vaccine and said it could save tens of thousands of lives each year

Malaria vaccine ghana
A nurse prepares a syringe containing a malaria vaccine at the maternity ward of the Ewin Polyclinic, the first Ghanian clinic to roll out the malaria vaccine Mosquirix or RTS,S, in Cape Coast, Ghana, on April 30, 2019. Cristina Aldehuela/AFP/Getty
  • The World Health Organization on Wednesday recommended the “world’s first” malaria vaccine.
  • The approval is based on results from an ongoing campaign in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.
  • Malaria kills about 400,000 people a year, nearly all of them living in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The World Health Organization on Wednesday recommended the “world’s first” malaria vaccine.

“This long-awaited #malaria vaccine is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control. Using this vaccine in addition to existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year,” WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, according to a tweet from the international organization.

The approval is based on results from an ongoing campaign in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi that vaccinated more than 800,000 children in the last two years, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Malaria vaccine ghana
A baby receives a malaria vaccine from a nurse at the maternity ward of the Ewin Polyclinic, the first Ghanian clinic to roll out the malaria vaccine Mosquirix or RTS,S, in Cape Coast, Ghana, on April 30, 2019. Cristina Aldehuela/AFP/Getty

Malaria kills about 400,000 people a year, nearly all of them living in sub-Saharan Africa.

Hands hold a malaria vaccine
Health officials prepare to vaccinate residents of the Malawi village of Tomali on December 11, 2019, where young children are test subjects for the world’s first vaccine against malaria. Jerome Delay/AP