Oxford University scientists have developed a malaria vaccine that has the potential to alter the globe. After testing demonstrated up to 80% protection against the fatal disease, the team expects it to be available next year. Importantly, the researchers claim that their vaccine is inexpensive, and they have a contract to produce more than 100 million doses every year.
Malaria No More, a nonprofit, declared that due to recent advances, malaria mortality among children may be eliminated ‘in our lifetimes’. It has taken more than a century to develop effective immunizations due to the malaria parasite’s amazing complexity and elusiveness, which is carried by mosquitoes. Immunity development is difficult since it is a dynamic target that changes forms throughout the body.
Last year, the World Health Organization approved the first immunization, developed by pharmaceutical powerhouse GSK, for use in Africa. The Oxford researchers, on the other hand, believe their technique is more successful and can be made on a far larger scale. The study data from 409 children in Nanoro, Burkina Faso, were published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases. It shows how three initial doses, followed by a year later booster injection, can provide up to 80% protection.
The researchers will begin the process of having its vaccine licenced in the next weeks, but the ultimate decision will be based on the results of a bigger experiment including 4,800 children, which is due by the end of the year. The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has already committed to manufacturing more than 100 million doses each year. The GSK vaccine that has received formal clearance is comparable to the Oxford immunisation. Both seek to halt the parasite’s lifecycle before it reaches the liver and establishes a foothold in the host.
The vaccines are constructed of a mix of hepatitis B virus and malaria parasite proteins, with Oxford’s formulation including a greater amount of malaria proteins. According to the researchers, this allows the immune system to focus on hepatitis rather than malaria. The efficacy of the GSK vaccine has made Oxford feel more confident in releasing their own vaccine the next year, for example, by determining how feasible an African immunisation campaign would be.