WHO approves first malaria vaccine, recommends use for children

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 7, 2021   •   409

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the first malaria vaccine and has recommended its use among children.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the use of this vaccine could save tens of thousands of young lives each year. The recommendation is based on results from an ongoing pilot program in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

“This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control,” he said.

The agency is recommending the use of RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions, based on the advice of two WHO global advisory bodies.

For the vaccination, the WHO also said the vaccine should be administered in areas with moderate to high transmission as defined by the agency. Malaria vaccine should be provided in a schedule of 4 doses in children from 5 months of age for the reduction of malaria disease and burden.

Meanwhile, financing for the pilot program has been mobilized. AAC



Patuloy na genomic surveillance at restrictive alert level, kailangan vs bagong COVID-19 variant

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Naniniwala ang isang infectious disease expert na dapat magpatuloy ang ipinatutupad na genomic surveillance at restrictive alert level upang maagapan ang pagpasok ng panibagong variant ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ayon kay Infectious Disease Specialist at Department of Health Technical Advisory Group member, Dr. Edsel Salvaña, nakakabahala ang presensiya ng bagong COVID-19 variant kaya dapat magpatuloy ang genomic surveillance ng Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Philippine Genome Center at National Institutes of Health upang ma-monitor kung may bagong coronavirus variant na nakapasok sa bansa.

“Sinusubaybayan natin ito bagamat hindi pa siya nagte-take over tulad ng Delta, nakakabahala rin ang mutations na taglay nito,” ani Salvaña.

“Lahat ng ginagawa natin para maprevent ang pagpasok ng bagong varaint, tuloy naman po talaga iyan. For instance yong genomic surveillance […] and the fact na na-detect na ang variant na ito at pinag-uusapan na ng WHO. Iyong UK nga nag- travel ban na sila. It shows na iyong ating global genomic surveillance is working and hopefully we can prevent the spread of any new variants that come up,” dagdag pa niya.

Ang bagong COVID-19 variant na B.1.1.529 ay natuklasan sa bansang South Africa noong Nobyembre 23 mula sa samples na kinuha mula November 14 hanggang 16.

Bagama’t wala pang kumpletong detalye ang sinasabing bagong variant at variant under monitoring pa lang ang klasipikasyon nito sa ngayon, sinabi ng World Health Organization (WHO) na kailangang bantayan ito ng maigi dahil nagtataglay ito ng maraming mutations na maaaring makaapekto sa behavior o bagsik ng virus.

Inaalam rin ang epekto ng variant sa diagnostics, sa bisa ng bakuna at mga gamot na ginagamit sa mga pasyenteng may COVID-19.

“We don’t know very much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large of number mutations,” ang pahayag ni Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, ang COVID-19 Technical Lead ng WHO.

“Right now, researchers are getting together to where these mutations are and what that potentially mean for our diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines,” dagdag pa niya.

May mga kaso na ng ganitong variant na naitala sa ilang bahagi ng South Africa gaya ng Johannesburg, Gauteng at Botswana.

May napaulat na rin sa Hong Kong na isang biyahero mula sa South Africa.

Sa Pilipinas, wala pang iniuulat na kaso ng B1.1.529.

Tiwala naman si Salvaña na agad maaagapan ang pagpasok sa bansa ng nasabing variant dahil sa umiiral na COVID-19 restrictions.

Panawagan rin nito sa publiko na huwag maging kampante sa kabila ng pagbaba ng mga kaso dahil nananatili pa rin ang banta ng COVID-19. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

WHO issues emergency use listing for India’s Covaxin COVID-19 jab

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 4, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, Nov. 3, granted emergency use listing (EUL) to India’s homegrown COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin.

Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, is the eight COVID-19 vaccine validated by WHO.

WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) recommended that Covaxin should be used in two doses, with a dose interval of four weeks, in all age groups 18 and above.

The said vaccine was found to have 78% efficacy against COVID-19 of any severity, 14 or more days after the second dose, and is extremely suitable for low- and middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements.

WHO Assistant-Director General for Access to Medicines and Health Products Dr. Mariângela Simão said Covaxin was assessed under the WHO EUL procedure based on the review of data on quality, safety, efficacy, a risk management plan and programmatic suitability.

“This emergency use listing expands the availability of vaccines, the most effective medical tools we have to end the pandemic. We must keep up the pressure to meet the needs of all populations, giving priority to the at-risk groups who are still waiting for their first dose, before we can start declaring victory,” Simão said.

Meanwhile, available data on vaccination of pregnant women with the vaccine are insufficient to assess vaccine safety or efficacy in pregnancy; studies in pregnant women are planned, including a pregnancy sub-study and a pregnancy registry. AAC





The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it — WHO chief

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 27, 2021


World Health Organization (WHO) director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world already has the tools needed to end the ongoing health crisis.

Speaking at the World Health Summit in Berlin, Ghebreyesus said, “The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it. It’s in our hands. We have all the tools we need: effective public health tools and effective medical tools but the world has not used those well.”

Ghebreyesus noted that with almost 50,000 deaths a week, the pandemic is far from over

He said WHO’s global targets are to support every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population by the end of this year, and 70% by the middle of next year.

COVAX aims to deliver more than 150 million doses to Western Pacific countries until the end of the year.

“Complacency is now as dangerous as the virus. Now is the time to be on heightened alert, not to let down your guard,” the WHO chief said. AAC


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