Ghana Becomes First Country to Approve Oxford's Malaria Vaccine
The vaccine, developed by Oxford University, has shown high efficacy and received approval from Ghana.
Ghana has become the first country in the world to approve the powerful R21/Matrix-M vaccine. The malaria vaccine—which was developed at Oxford university in the UK—was the first to exceed the World Health Organization’s threshold of 75% efficacy, so it has been approved for use by Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority. The vaccine will be targeted towards those who have the highest mortality rate for malaria, children between the ages of five months to 36 months,
The R21/Matrix-M vaccine is the malaria vaccine developed by researchers at the University of Oxford's Jenner Institute in partnership with a UK-based pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca. The vaccine was named after the R21 protein component used to trigger an immune response.
Clinical trials of the vaccine have shown promising results. In a clinical trial conducted in Burkina Faso last year, the vaccine showed high levels of success. The results of the trial found that the vaccine provided 80% protection against malaria in children who were between the ages of five months to 17 months.
In a comment to The Guardian, Prof. Adrian Hill, the director of the Jenner Institute, a part of the Nuffield Department of medicine at Oxford University, said that the vaccine was a product of years long research.
“This marks a culmination of 30 years of malaria vaccine research at Oxford with the design and provision of a high efficacy vaccine that can be supplied at adequate scale to the countries who need it most,” Hill said.
The WHO has not yet recommended the R21 vaccine for global use, which has raised speculations about the amount of international funding available for it. However, the vaccine is still undergoing its third trial, and earlier trials have consistently demonstrated an efficacy level of 77%, surpassing the standard threshold by 2%.
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