Breakthrough Malaria Vaccine Is 77% Effective, Giving Hope Against One Of The World’s Biggest Killers

According to the preliminary clinical trial results published Thursday , the Oxford University team behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot has developed the first malaria vaccine that has reached the World Health Organization’s 75% effectiveness threshold, a breakthrough in the fight against one of the world’s greatest killers.

The vaccine referred to as R21, is 77% effective against malaria, according to preliminary results from a phase 2 clinical trial that have not been peer reviewed. The vaccine is much more effective than existing shots and is the first vaccine to attain the WHO’s goal, which is to be at least 75% effective on the market by 2030.

With encouraging results, researchers studying the vaccine in 450 children in Burkina Faso, West Africa, have begun recruiting participants to participate in a large phase 3 clinical trial of nearly 5,000 children from four African countries.

Professor Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford  and one of the study’ s authors , said that if the vaccine is approved, it may have a huge impact on public health, adding that the team is cooperating with the Serum Institute of India, to produce at least 200 million doses a year, if the trials are successful.

The Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation of Burkina Faso, Professor Alkassoum Maiga , said he hopes that the Phase III trial will confirm “exciting results… this vaccine could have a real impact on the disease, which affects millions of children every year.”

Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitos. An effective vaccine for the disease, while preventable and treatable, has escaped scientists for more than a century, partly due to the complications of the parasite. 

229 million. According to the WHO from the World Health Organization, this is approximately the number of malaria cases reported worldwide in 2019. Although the incidence has dropped sharply in recent years, about 400,000 people still die from the disease, which is still one of the top ten causes of death in low-income countries. Africa is most affected by the disease, with more than 90% of cases occurring there. Children account for almost 70% of deaths.