Ghana: New malaria vaccine gets green light from authorities

A new malaria vaccine developed by the University of Oxford has received the green light from Ghanaian authorities for use in this country, a first for this vaccine which raises many hopes, according to a press release published Thursday, April 13

Ghana: New malaria vaccine gets green light from authorities

A new malaria vaccine developed by the University of Oxford has received the green light from Ghanaian authorities for use in this country, a first for this vaccine which raises many hopes, according to a press release published Thursday, April 13.

The R21/Matrix-M vaccine, developed by scientists at Oxford University and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, "has been approved for children aged 5-36 months, the age group most at risk risk of death from malaria," according to the University statement. “It is hoped that this crucial first step will enable the vaccine to help Ghanaian and African children effectively fight malaria,” it read.

Malaria, a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes, killed 627,000 people – mostly African children – in 2020 alone. In September 2022, Oxford researchers had already expressed their hopes for this vaccine.

"The culmination of thirty years of research"

The licensing in Ghana "marks the culmination of thirty years of malaria vaccine research at Oxford, with the design and availability of a highly effective vaccine that can be supplied on an adequate scale to countries that have the capacity." no longer needed,” said Adrian Hill, Oxford vaccine specialist and R21/Matrix-M program manager, on Thursday.

It is "a low-dose vaccine that can be manufactured on a large scale and at modest cost, which would provide hundreds of millions of doses to African countries with a high malaria burden. ", he added. The vaccine contains Matrix-M adjuvant, a vaccine ingredient patented by Novavax and also used in the US biotechnology company's Covid-19 vaccine.

In 2021, another vaccine, produced by British pharmaceutical giant GSK, became the first malaria vaccine to be recommended for widespread use by the World Health Organization (WHO). But research has shown that the effectiveness of GSK's vaccine is around 60% and drops significantly over time, even with a booster dose.

According to a study published in 2021, the Oxford R21/Matrix-M vaccine was found to be 77% effective in preventing malaria. It was the first time that a vaccine exceeded the efficacy target set by the WHO at 75%.