Oxford University Researchers Hailed Possible Malaria Vaccine Breakthrough with 77% Effectiveness
77% Efficacy Has Been Recorded in The Initial Clinical Trial, Becoming the First-Ever Vaccine to Achieve the Goal Set by WHO of 75% Efficacy
A viable malaria vaccine has been proven to be 77% effective in the initial trial, which has been recently conducted and could provide a major breakthrough to combat against the life-threatening disease. Malaria has killed more than 400,000 individuals in a single year, which mostly include children residing in the sub-Saharan region of Africa.
Although numerous trials had been conducted over the past several years across the world, this clinical research trial for a working malaria vaccine is the first one to meet the required goal by the vaccine. The researching team has said that this viable malaria vaccine would have a major impact on public health.
During the trial conducted in Burkina Faso in 450 children, the malaria vaccine was observed to be safe for administration and has shown ‘high-level efficacy’ over the time duration of 12 months of follow-up. Larger trials in around 5,000 children between the ages of 5 months to 3 years will now be carried out throughout four different African countries to confirm the diagnostic findings.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne life-threatening disease that is caused by parasites that are transmitted into individuals through the bite of a female anopheles’ mosquito. Although the disease is curable and preventable, the World Health Organization has estimated that there have been 229 million cases across the world in the year 2019, along with 409,000 mortalities.
This disease initiates with common symptoms including headache, fever and chills, and the condition would possibly aggravate without on-time treatment, which would be consequently severe the illness, often resulting in death.
Major impact on health
The author of the study Adrian Hill, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford and director of Jenner Institute, stated that he believed the malaria vaccine had been the first one to reach the goal of the World Health Organization of at least efficacy of 75%. The most effective to date malaria vaccine has been able to show only 55% efficacy during the clinical trials conducted on children in Africa.
The clinical trial for the malaria vaccine was started in the year 2019, long before the appearance of COVID-19 viral infection, and the scientific team of researchers working at Oxford University has been able to develop a viable vaccine for coronavirus, with a joint collaboration with AstraZeneca pharmaceutical firm. The team has worked on the strength of their research into the malaria vaccine.
A malaria vaccine has taken a long time to come into effect because there have been thousands of malarial genes as compared to about a dozen of coronavirus variants and require a high immunologic response to combat against the disease.
According to Prof Hill, this is a technically challenging task for the production of a viable malaria vaccine, and the previous manufactured numerous vaccines were unable to work as the task is very difficult to attain.
However, he also stated that the results of the clinical trial were very deployable and has the potential to have a massive impact on the health of the general population.
Tool to save the life
In a draft study with the research team from Oxford, The Lancet has reported that the results of the trial for R21/Matrix-M, after testing with a high dose and low dose of the malaria vaccine in African children, between the time period of May and August which is the peak season for malaria infection.
The malaria vaccine has shown that the high dose vial has an efficacy of 77% and the lower-dose vial group has around 71% efficacy. The professor in parasitology and the principal trial investigator of the Clinical Research Unit of Nanoro, Burkina Faso, Halidou Tinto, has stated that the results which have been observed are exciting and have shown unprecedented levels of efficacy.
The research team is currently looking forward to the upcoming trial of phase 3, which would be demonstrated on a large scale for safety purposes and the data of efficacy for the malaria vaccine, which is greatly required in the region.
In the region of Africa, there have been numerous mortalities after individuals were diagnosed with malaria, even more than the COVID-19 infection in the previous year.
The Serum Institute of India has been able to manufacture the malaria vaccine, and the firm says that they are confident to deliver more than 200 million vials of vaccines as soon as it would be approved by the regulating authorities.