According to British scientists, those who have developed this new vaccine could reduce malaria deaths by 70% by 2030.
The prediction comes after clinical trials in Africa showed the vaccine, called R21/Matrix-M, to be highly effective in protecting children, who bear the burden of the disease caused by the disease. mosquito transmission.
Results will be submitted to the World Health Organization later this month, and a manufacturer has been lined up to produce 200 million doses a year. They can cost less than £5 each.
Professor Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, who led the study, said: “This is really exciting.
“Humans have been trying to create a malaria vaccine for more than a century. About 140 different malaria vaccines have been put into use.
“We think these data are the best of any malaria vaccine.”
More than 40 million children live in areas of sub-Saharan Africa with high or moderate levels malaria Transmission.
Every 75 seconds, a child under the age of 5 dies from the disease, despite the use of nets, preventatives and insecticides.
How testing is done
In the new trial, published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, Researchers gave three doses four weeks apart, with a booster dose after 12 months, to 409 young children in Burkina Faso.
Results a year later showed it had prevented 80% of malaria cases.
The only alternative malaria vaccine produced by GlaxoSmithKline is 44 percent effective within one year, researchers say.
“We were vaccinated just before the peak of the malaria season, so that does make a bit of a difference,” said Professor Hill.
“But we also believe our vaccine is better and more effective.”
The full data, including results from an unpublished study of 4,800 children in four African countries, will be submitted to the World Health Organization later this month.
A license to distribute the vaccine could be issued as early as next year.
The world’s largest vaccine maker, the Serum Institute of India, has agreed to produce 200 million doses a year, starting next year.
“We want to add the malaria vaccine on the bed net, above the spray, in addition to the drug prophylaxis,” said Professor Hill.
“If we can do it on a large scale, we can really look at greatly reducing the burden of malaria death and morbidity – by 2030 that could reduce deaths by 70%. “
However, scientists warn the vaccine’s benefits may not materialize if wealthier nations waver in funding for malaria control. The United Kingdom and the United States were previously major contributors.
Malaria fights ‘at a crossroads’
Professor Azra Ghani, chair of infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College London, said: “These results come at a time when the fight against malaria is at a crossroads.
“With the right investment – especially the continued support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at their upcoming supplementary conference later this month – we can reverse the trends.” recent and continuing direction on the path to malaria elimination.
“Without this investment, we risk losing sight of the gains we’ve made over the past decades and seeing a wave of malaria resurgence.”