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Malaria vaccine becomes first to achieve WHO-specified 75% efficacy goal
As many of our readers will be aware, GINblogger has regularly reported on news regarding Malaria, especially from the likes of Fever Tree, which has for years been campaigning to bring this deadly disease under control. Despite global efforts 229 million cases of clinical malaria were reported in 2019, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that it causes over 400,000 deaths each year globally; and sadly it reports that progress in reducing malaria mortality has stalled in recent years.
So it was with great pleasure that, on the 23rd April, researchers from the University of Oxford and their partners reported findings from a Phase IIb trial of a candidate malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix-M, which demonstrated high-level efficacy of 77% over 12-months of follow-up.
In their findings (posted on SSRN/Preprints with The lancet) they note that they are the first to meet the World Health Organization’s Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap goal of a vaccine with at least 75% efficacy.
Halidou Tinto, Professor in Parasitology, Regional Director of IRSS in Nanoro, and the trial Principal Investigator said: “The researchers, in collaboration with Serum Institute of India Private Ltd., and Novavax Inc., have now started recruitment for a Phase III licensure trial to assess large-scale safety and efficacy in 4,800 children, aged 5-36 months, across four African countries.”
Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute and Lakshmi Mittal and Family Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, co-authors of the paper, said:
“These new results support our high expectations for the potential of this vaccine, which we believe is the first to reach the WHO’s goal of a vaccine for malaria with at least 75% efficacy.
“With the commitment by our commercial partner, the Serum Institute of India, to manufacture at least 200 million doses annually in the coming years, the vaccine has the potential to have major public health impact if licensure is achieved.”
We wish them all the best in their mission.
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