A malaria vaccine called R21/Matrix-M, which was developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford as well as a manufacturer of vaccines and immunological products from India, has been given the licence to be used in Ghana by the Food and Drugs Authority over there.
The vaccine, which leverages adjuvant technology from one of the leading US biotech companies in this domain, has been awarded a licence to be used across the country.
With this, it is the first clearance for R21/Matrix-M malaria for use in any specific country. It is well to note that the vaccine has been approved for use among children from 5 to 36 months, a bracket that happens to be at the highest risk of succumbing to malaria.
It happens to be a low-dose vaccine that can be manufactured at a wide scale and that too at a reasonable cost, thereby enabling millions of doses to be supplied to African countries that are already suffering from a significant malaria burden.
Moreover, it has also been demonstrated that the high levels of safety as well as efficacy have been seen in phase 2 trials even for those children who got a booster dose of R21/Matric-M at one year, which was followed by a primary three-dose regime. It is anticipated that this landmark regulatory decision will help Ghanaian and African children thwart malaria.
Adar Poonawalla, who happens to be the CEO of a leading manufacturer of vaccines and immuno-biologics from India, had no doubts about the impact this vaccine would go on to make. As per him, malaria happens to be a life-threatening disease that affects disproportionately the most susceptible populations across society, thereby being a leading cause of death among children.
He added that coming up with a vaccine to massively impact this enormous disease burden was indeed extraordinarily challenging. He added that they happen to be committed to their vision of health for all, thereby making sure of equal access to vaccines for populations across the world.
Adrian Hill, Professor and Director at the Jenner Institute at the Nuffield Department of Medicine under the gamut of the University of Oxford, said that this marks the end of 30 years of malaria vaccine research undertaken by Oxford with the provision as well as design of a high-efficacy vaccine that can get supplied at an appropriate scale across the countries that need them the most.
He also went on to congratulate the clinical trial partners in Africa who could generate the dataset that supported the safety as well as the efficiency of the vaccine among children.
John Jacobs, the president and CEO of the US biotechnology company involved in the research, said that they are thrilled that this Matrix-M adjuvant has contributed towards the success of this much-needed and promising malaria vaccine. He added that it happens to be their intent to unlock the potential of their adjuvants both in the short and long term to consistently enhance public health.