R21/Matrix-M: WHO recommends Malaria vaccine made by Oxford and Serum Institute of India


The R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and the Serum Institute of India has been recommended for use by the World Health Organisation (WHO) after meeting required safety, quality and effectiveness standards.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended on Monday the use of a second malaria vaccine to curb the life-threatening disease spread to humans by some mosquitoes.

“Today, it gives me great pleasure to announce that WHO is recommending a second vaccine called R21/Matrix-M to prevent malaria in children at risk of the disease,”WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing in Geneva on Monday, Reuters reported.

R21/Matrix-M: When will the second vaccine for malaria be available?

R21/Matrix-M, developed by Britain’s University of Oxford, will become available by mid-2024, Tedros said, adding that doses would cost between $2 and $4.

“WHO is now reviewing the vaccine for prequalification, which is WHO stamp of approval, and will enable GAVI (a global vaccine alliance) and UNICEF to buy the vaccine from manufacturers,” Tedros said, as quoted by Reuters.

“The recommendation was based on pre-clinical and clinical trial data which showed good safety and high efficacy in four countries, at sites with both seasonal and perennial malaria transmission, making it the world’s second-ever WHO recommended vaccine for preventing malaria in children,” Serum Institute of India said in a statement.

Dr Lisa Stockdale, Senior Immunologist, The Jenner Institute, University of Oxford said “Today’s news is a testament to the work of our small but dedicated team and means we have another tool with which to fight this disease that kills over half a million people every year. However, further work is critical to establish not just that the vaccine works, but to understand more about how it works, and apply that knowledge to future vaccines.”

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, said “For far too long, malaria has threatened the lives of billions of people across the globe, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable amongst us. This is why the WHO recommendation and approval of the R21/Matrix-M vaccine marks a huge milestone on our journey to combat this life-threatening disease, showing what exactly can be achieved when the public and private sector, scientists and researchers, all work together towards a shared goal.”

The vaccine was developed by the Jenner Institute at Oxford University and Serum Institute of India with support from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (‘EDCTP’), the Wellcome Trust, and the European Investment Bank (‘EIB’).

R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine will compete against the RTS,S shot by GSK Plc, which was recommended by the United Nations agency in 2021 and sold under the brand Mosquirix.

Malaria kills over 600,000 each year globally, most of them children in Africa.

-With agency inputs

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