June 25, 2024 03:59:19 booked.net

The Significance of Malaria Second Vaccine

What Are the Characteristics of the Vaccination?

This vaccine utilizes Novavax’s adjuvant technology, an additive that enhances immune response. It demonstrates effectiveness in diverse environments, from regions with high seasonal malaria prevalence to those with year-round transmission. Although the efficacy of three doses diminishes after a year, a booster shot restores its effectiveness. Cost-effectiveness is another advantage, with a price range of $2 to $4 per dose, similar to other childhood vaccines, facilitating rapid implementation at the country level. Phase III trials involved 4,800 children aged 3-5 years from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, and Tanzania.

Why Did Vaccine Development Take So Long?

The delay in developing vaccines for “neglected” diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV-AIDS, primarily affecting developing and underdeveloped nations, can be attributed to several challenges. For some diseases, lower returns on investment deter vaccine manufacturers, resulting in significant funding shortages. Malaria alone faces a global funding gap of $3.8 billion annually, as reported by the Switzerland-based non-profit RBM Partnership. The complex genetic nature of the malaria-causing parasite has also posed technological challenges.

What Is the Current Malaria Vaccine?

Developed by GSK, a UK pharmaceutical company, it received approval in 2021. However, only 18 million doses are available, to be distributed across 12 African countries from 2023 to 2025. Given the high demand compared to the limited supply, the scalability of the new vaccine is a crucial development aimed at “protecting more children faster,” according to the WHO.

What Could Be the Impact of the New Vaccine?

In 2021, there were 247 million cases of malaria worldwide, resulting in 619,000 deaths. Nearly half a million children, primarily in Africa, succumb to the disease each year. Despite significant progress, malaria remains prevalent in India, with cases declining from 338,494 in 2019 to 176,522 in 2022, according to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme. With the Serum Institute of India (SII) announcing the capacity to produce over 100 million doses annually (soon to reach 200 million), the vaccine, in conjunction with other public health measures, could contribute to India’s goal of eliminating malaria by 2030.

When Will It Be Available in India?

The vaccine is anticipated to be globally accessible by mid-2024. However, its availability in India remains uncertain. Indian regulations require clinical trials to be conducted within the country. The immediate next steps involve completing the WHO prequalification process, assessing the quality, safety, and efficacy of medicinal products, enabling international procurement for broader distribution. The Oxford-SII partnership, previously successful with Covishield, is not a novel collaboration.