Ghana becomes first country to approve Oxford malaria vaccine R21/Matrix-M | world news


Ghana has become the first country in the world to approve a new malaria vaccine developed by Oxford University.

R21/Matrix-M was It has been shown to be up to 80% effective in a study of 400 children in Burkina Faso published in September.

malaria kills more than 600,000 people each year, most of them children in Africa, and the search for a vaccine continues for decades.

Every 75 seconds, a child under the age of five dies from the mosquito-borne disease, despite the use of bed nets, preventive medication and insecticide sprays.

Ghana’s Drugs Agency has now approved the vaccine after seeing the results of a larger Phase 3 trial involving 4,800 children in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali and Tanzania.

These findings are expected to be published in a medical journal in the coming months as the World Health Organization completes its own assessment.

If the WHO agrees, organizations like Unicef ​​and the vaccine alliance Gavi could fund millions of doses.

Oxford scientist Professor Adrian Hill, head of the R21 program at the Jenner Institute, said Ghana has approved R21 for children aged five to 36 months – the highest risk category.

An agreement has also been reached with the Serum Institute of India for up to 200 million annual doses.

The vaccine was given in studies as three doses four weeks apart and as a booster dose one year later.

Professor Hill said the larger Phase 3 trial also showed “a high level of efficacy and a reassuring safety profile” – and that result seems to have given Ghana the confidence to approve R21.

It’s the first time a major vaccine has been approved in an African country before rich nations, Prof Hill said.

“Especially since COVID, African regulators have taken a much more proactive stance, they’ve said… we don’t want to be last in line,” he said.

It is not yet known when the West African country will start rolling out the vaccine.

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How GSK’s malaria vaccine saves children’s lives

Continue reading:
Why is malaria so dangerous and why do we need a vaccine?
Eyewitness: The African children are saved by the malaria vaccine

The first malaria vaccine, Mosquirix, by British drug giant GSK, was approved by the WHO last year However, adoption has been limited by commercial potential and a lack of funding.

GSK has pledged to make up to 15 million doses a year by 2028, but it’s a far cry from the roughly 100 million doses needed to feed 25 million children, according to the WHO.

So far, around 1.2 million children in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi have received at least one dose of Mosquirix as part of a pilot project that began in 2019.

In the areas where it was administered, child mortality has fallen by 10%, according to the WHO.

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