Oxford achieves the first malaria vaccine with an efficacy of 77%


by Esteban Tejedor

Posted on April 26, 2021

Oxford achieves the first malaria vaccine with an efficacy of 77%

Researchers from the University of Oxford (United Kingdom) and their partners have reported that they have achieved 77% efficacy in a randomised, controlled, double-blind, phase IIb trial conducted at the Nanoro Clinical Research Unit/Health Sciences Research Institute (Burkina Faso), with 450 participants from between 5 and 17 months recruited in the Burkinabe department of Nanoro, which includes 24 villages and a population of approximately 65,000 people.

The participants were divided into three groups. The first two received the R21/Matrix-M vaccine (with a low dose or a high dose of the Matrix-M adjuvant) and the third, a rabies vaccine as a control group. The doses were administered from the beginning of May 2019 to the beginning of August of that year, largely before the peak malaria season.

Efficacy was 77% in the higher-dose adjuvant group and 71% in the lower-dose adjuvant group, during 12 months of follow-up and no serious vaccine-related adverse events were observed.

In their conclusions, published last Friday in The Lancet magazine, just before World Malaria Day celebrated yesterday Sunday, they point out that they are the first to meet the objective of the so-called "Roadmap for malaria vaccine technology" of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which sets at least 75% vaccine efficacy.

Following these results, the phase IIb trial, funded by the EDCTP2 program, supported by the European Union, was expanded a year later with a booster vaccine administered before the following malaria season.

Now the researchers, in collaboration with the Serum Institute of India and Novavax, have begun recruiting for a phase III licensing trial to assess large-scale safety and efficacy in 4,800 children aged 5 to 36 months and in four African countries.

Malaria is one of the main causes of infant mortality in Africa. By manufacturing at least 200 million doses annually in the coming years, as the forecast points out, the vaccine has the potential to have a major impact on public health.

According to WHO, 46 of 87 countries with malaria reported fewer than 10,000 cases of the disease in 2019, compared with 26 countries in 2000. By the end of 2020, 24 states had reported interruption of malaria transmission for three years or more, of which 11 received the certification of countries free of the disease.


Source: El Mundo
Photo: UNICEF/Nahom Tesfaye

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