$11.6 Million Dollars For Future Malaria Vaccine Studies in Africa

Mosquirix RTS,S vaccine triggers human immune systems to defend against the stages of malaria when the Plasmodium falciparum parasite enters the bloodstream
young kenyan men
Africa (Vax Before Travel)

The Gavi Board announced the approval of $11.6 million in additional funding to support the Mosquirix RTS,S malaria vaccine implementation program for over 1,000,000 African children.

This new malaria vaccine funding is intended for programs scheduled to launch during the years 2021-2023.

During 2019, the Mosquirix malaria vaccine (RTS,S/AS01) was introduced in selected African countries – Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya. 

These programs are intended to evaluate the feasibility of delivering 4-doses of the Mosquirix (RTS,S) vaccine through childhood vaccination clinics, as well as the vaccine’s potential role in reducing childhood deaths and its safety in the context of routine use. 

The pilots aim to vaccinate around 360,000 children per year in the three countries.

There is an expected donation by GSK of up to 10 million vaccine doses for use in these pilots.

Previously, Gavi, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and Unitaid together provided just under $50 million to fund the 1st phase of the pilots from 2017-2020.

“Clinical testing has demonstrated that the vaccine has the potential to protect children at an age when they are most vulnerable to the disease,” said Dr. Berkley. “This vaccine has the potential to save the lives of millions of children in Africa.”

Globally, malaria is a leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age. In 2018, there were an estimated 228 million malaria cases and 405,000 deaths, the vast majority in Africa. 

In sub-Saharan Africa, the malaria burden is growing.

Considering the global burden of malaria as well as the potential number of lives saved by this vaccine, the Gavi Board also decided to explore options to ensure the continued production of the malaria vaccine beyond the GSK donation.

To avoid supply disruption, Gavi will work with partners to identify as soon as possible 3rd parties to share the risk of investing in the continued production of the RTS,S malaria vaccine.

The Mosquirix vaccine was created in 1987 by scientists working for GSK and received a positive scientific opinion from the European Medicines Agency in 2015.

Mosquirix (RTS,S) aims to trigger the immune system to defend against the first stages of malaria when the Plasmodium falciparum parasite enters the human host’s bloodstream through a mosquito bite and infects liver cells.

The Mosquirix vaccine is designed to prevent the parasite from infecting the liver, where it can mature, multiply, reenter the bloodstream, and infect red blood cells, which can lead to disease symptoms, says GSK.

But, Mosquirix does not protect children from all malaria infections caused by P. falciparum.

Recent malaria news

Prevention of malaria involves a balance between ensuring that all people who will be at risk of infection use the appropriate prevention measures, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 1,700 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the USA annually, and most of these cases are in returning international travelers. 

The CDC publishes various malaria travel alerts each year since millions of US residents travel to countries where malaria is present.

This Gavi Board meeting took place during December 2019 in India where the leadership and political commitment of the government have set the pace for accelerating immunization coverage and new vaccine introductions.

This new announcement will bring the total number of children vaccinated with Gavi support to over 1 billion since its inception in 2000.

Malaria vaccine news published by Vax Before Travel


Article by
Dani Reiter