The deadliest form of malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium falciparum. The single-celled organism invades red blood cells, causing high fever, sweating, and chills. Mosquirix helps the body’s disease-fighting immune system recognize and destroy P. falciparum before it can infect cells.
The vaccine has been in the making for more than 30 years. Its approval is “a huge milestone,” says Dr. James Tibenderana. He’s an epidemiologist—a medical doctor who studies the spread of disease—and technical director of Malaria Consortium, a nonprofit in the United Kingdom.