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New Malaria Vaccine
The World Health Organization (WHO) has proposed the introduction of a low-cost, mass-producible malaria vaccine.
It is the second malaria vaccine to be created, and it was created by the University of Oxford.
One of the worst scourges on humanity, malaria kills primarily children and infants.
Already, contracts have been made to produce more than 100 million doses annually.
The creation of malaria vaccinations has required more than a century of scientific research.
A sophisticated parasite that spreads through the bite of blood-sucking mosquitoes is the source of the sickness. It is much more complex than a virus since it constantly changes its structure inside the human body to evade our immune system.
This makes it challenging to naturally acquire immunity to malaria through infection and challenging to create a vaccine against it.
It has been nearly two years to the day that the WHO approved the first vaccine, known as RTS,S and created by GSK.
the same two vaccines
The WHO’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, described it as a “great pleasure” occasion.
“I used to dream of the day we would have a safe and effective vaccine against malaria, but now we have two,” he remarked.
According to the WHO, the two vaccines’ efficacy was “very similar” and there was no proof that one was superior to the other.
The University of Oxford vaccination, known as R21, can now be produced in large quantities, which is the primary distinction.
The Serum Institute of India, the largest vaccine producer in the world, is already scheduled to produce more than 100 million doses year and has ambitions to increase production to 200 million doses annually.
There have only been 18 million doses of RTS,S to date.
The new R21 vaccination was described as a “vital additional tool” by the WHO. Each medication costs $2 to $4 (£1.65 to £3.30), and each person requires four doses. That is around half of what RTS,S costs.
The two vaccines target the same phase of the malaria parasite’s lifecycle and share similar technologies. The more recent vaccine, however, is simpler to produce since it employs a lower dose and an easier adjuvant (a substance included in the vaccination that stimulates the immune system).
There were 247 million cases of malaria in 2021, and 619,000 people died from it, the majority of them young children. Africa accounts for more than 95% of malaria cases.
potential to save lives
The WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, stated: “This second vaccine holds genuine potential to close the enormous demand-and-supply imbalance.
“The two vaccines can support malaria prevention and control efforts and save hundreds of thousands of young lives when widely implemented and delivered at scale.”
The R21 vaccine is 75% effective at preventing the disease in locations where malaria is a seasonal disease, according to data that has been published online but has not gone through the customary process of scientific review.
That amount was compared to the first vaccination (RTS,S) in seasonal areas, according to the WHO’s strategic advisory committee of specialists.
In regions where the parasite is year-round present, malaria vaccination efficacy is reduced.
Director of the Jenner Institute in Oxford, where R21 was created, Prof. Sir Adrian Hill, stated: “The vaccine is easily deployable, cost effective and affordable, ready for distribution in areas where it is needed most, with the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives a year.”
“We cannot afford to be complacent as new tools are developed,” said Gareth Jenkins of Malaria No More UK. “The reality is that malaria financing globally is far from where it needs to be and annual deaths from malaria rose during the pandemic and are still above pre-pandemic levels.”