The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently recommended a new vaccine, R21/Matrix-M, for the prevention of malaria in children.
- The R21 vaccine is the second malaria vaccine recommended by the WHO, following the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine, which received a WHO recommendation in 2021.
- WHO is now reviewing the vaccine for prequalification, which is the WHO stamp of approval, and will enable GAVI (a global vaccine alliance) and UNICEF to buy the vaccine from manufacturers.
- R21/Matrix-M Vaccine is a new vaccine approved for the prevention of malaria in children.
- It was developed by the University of Oxford and the Serum Institute of India with support from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (‘EDCTP’), the Wellcome Trust, and the European Investment Bank (‘EIB’).
- It is the first malaria vaccine to reach the WHO’s target of 75% efficacy.
- It has already been approved for use in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Nigeria.
- The vaccine will be rolled out in those African countries in early 2024 and will be available in mid-2024 in other countries.
- It is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
- There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and 2 of these species, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, pose the greatest threat.
- Malaria is common in tropical areas where it’s hot and humid.