• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Oxford’s new malaria vaccine could ‘drastically reduce’ child deaths


Sep 13, 2022

A MALARIA vaccine created by Oxford researchers could contribute to drastically reduce the number of children who die from the infection.

A new study published on the Lancet Infectious Diseases, a clinical journal, reported on the effectiveness of a malaria booster vaccine which shows long-lasting high efficacy in African children, meeting the World Health Organisation (WHO) specified 75 per cent efficacy goal.

The research found that a vaccine booster dose one year after children received three doses as their primary vaccination regime maintained high efficacy against malaria.

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The WHO estimates that malaria caused over 640,000 deaths in 2020 and progress in reducing malaria mortality has stalled in recent years.

Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute and Lakshmi Mittal and Family Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said: “I think this is really exciting – people have been trying to make malaria vaccines for over a century.

“The first clinical trial was in 1940s, 140 different malaria vaccines have been into arms to see if the world can make a vaccine that is useful against malaria.

“We think these data are the best data yet. And very importantly, this is a vaccine that we think can be manufactured and deployed, very widely.”

He added that the vaccine could be produced for a few dollars a dose, and together with existing measures, like mosquito nets and sprays, could help save children’s lives.

Professor Hill said: “There’s three billion dollars being spent on other interventions, but we definitely don’t want to withdraw those or malaria will go back up rapidly.

“We want to add a malaria vaccine on top of nets, on top of spraying, on top of drug preventive treatment.

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“And if we can do that, and do it at a grand scale, we really could be looking at a very substantial reduction in that horrendous burden of malaria deaths and disease in the coming years – certainly by by 2030.

“That’s our goal, to make a big impact, maybe a 70% reduction in deaths, we think that could well be feasible.”

“We hope that this will be deployed and available and saving lives, certainly by the end of next year.”

Gareth Jenkins, director of advocacy at charity Malaria No More UK, said: “Today’s R21 vaccine results from Oxford’s renowned Jenner Institute are another encouraging signal that, with the right support, the world could end child deaths from malaria in our lifetimes.

“But for new British inventions to achieve their potential, British leadership must continue, not least at the imminent US-hosted Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria replenishment conference this September.”

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi