New malaria vaccine demonstrates high efficacy

pharmafile | September 9, 2022 | News story | Medical Communications  


A new malaria vaccine could be pivotal in the fight against the deadly disease.

This vaccine has been developed by members of the University of Oxford team behind the AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab. The R21/Matrix-M previously showed 77% efficacy over 12 months in a Phase IIb trial involving young west African children – meeting WHO’s efficacy goal of 75% – after an initial three-dose course of injections.

The 450-patient study now has follow-up data from a group of 409 children who received a fourth booster dose at one year, with either a low or high dose of Novavax’ Matrix-M adjuvant, used to boost the immune response to the R21 antigen.

Protective efficacy was 70% in the low-dose group, and 80% in the high-dose group.

“We are delighted to find that a standard four-dose immunisation regime can now, for the first time, reach the high efficacy level over two years that has been an aspirational target for malaria vaccines for so many years,” said Professor Adrian Hill of Oxford’s Jenner Institute.

“What is particularly encouraging from a scientific perspective are two pieces of information provided by these results,” commented Professor Azra Ghani, chair in infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College London.

“First, the demonstration that antibody titres can be restored through boosting with this vaccine and, second, that the antibody titres correlate with protection against clinical disease,” he said.

“Taken together, these indicate that similar levels of vaccine efficacy may well be achievable outside the highly seasonal setting in which this particular trial was conducted.”

Lina Adams

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