Remarkable Progress with New Malaria Vaccine

Remarkable Progress with New Malaria Vaccine

Nearly 1 million children in Malawi, Kenya, and Ghana have now gotten one or more doses of the globe's first malaria vaccine as part of a test program administered by WHO. In April 2019, the Malawian government started malaria vaccine pilots, demonstrating that the RTS, S/AS01 (RTS) vaccine is simple to administer and safe to use. It greatly reduces the risk of severe fatal malaria. This outcome paved the path for the historic WHO proposal to enhance the use of RTS in regions with relatively high malaria transmission in October 2021. According to WHO, if widely utilized, the vaccine might just save the lives of approximately 80,000 youngsters in Africa each year.

The Vaccine Alliance, known as Gavi, has given more than US$ 155 million to aid with the launch, procurement, and distribution of the malaria vaccine in Gavi-eligible Sub-Saharan African countries. RTS, a first-generation vaccine, may be complemented with other vaccines with equivalent or better efficiency in the future. The World Health Organization recognizes the progress in the early clinical trials of R21/Matrix-M and other malaria vaccine candidates. The conclusion of clinical trials for these vaccines will be essential in assessing their effectiveness and safety. WHO also commends BioNTech, the manufacturer of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, for announcing intentions to develop a malaria vaccine using mRNA technology.

A number of revolutionary control strategy tools and technologies have been submitted to WHO for approval. If they are beneficial in combating the sickness, WHO will introduce additional recommendations or amend existing ones to encourage their use. New insecticide-treated nets, spatial mosquito repellents, gene-drive approaches, and sugar baits to attract and kill Anopheles mosquitoes are among them. New drugs are also being developed. WHO commends the approval by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration of dispersible tablets of single-dose tafenoquine for the prevention of P. vivax malaria in kids. Similarly, Tafenoquine has been approved for use in adults by drug regulatory bodies in Brazil, Peru, and Thailand, as well as the US Food and Drug Administration. Tafenoquine, administered as a single dose, is expected to enhance patient adherence to medication. The current standard of care is a seven- to fourteen-day dose of antibiotics.

Apart from drug resistance, WHO has disclosed other pressing threats to malaria control, and these threats include the occurrence of insecticide-resistant mosquitos, an invasive malaria vector that thrives in both rural and urban areas, and the rise and spread of mutated P. falciparum parasites, which are compromising the effectiveness of rapid diagnostic tests. To minimize these concerns, tool and method innovation, as well as more strategic use of the resources that are now accessible, will be critical.

Global progress in lowering malaria incidence and death has slowed or stalled in recent years, according to the World Malaria Report 2021. This has particularly been seen in the disease's worst-affected nations. The report stresses the significance of continued innovation in new instrument research and development if the globe is to fulfil the WHO malaria strategy's 2030 targets. To achieve global malaria targets, adjustments in how currently available instruments are used would be required. The WHO and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria devised the "High burden to high impact" technique in 2018 to gather and analyze malaria data in order to better comprehend the disease's geographical spread. Rather than employing the same malaria management strategy across the board, they are looking into the possible benefits of individualized intervention packages directed by local data and disease context. These assessments will assist governments in achieving better, more efficient, and equitable use of available funds.

WHO is working with collaborators to increase supply by expanding RTS production capacity and encouraging the development of additional first-generation and next-generation malaria vaccines. WHO is overseeing the creation of a system for allocating the limited malaria supply, which will determine where the first doses of the vaccine will be deployed; the goal is to target areas with the greatest need and has a high malaria occurrence until supply equals demand.

The RTS trial program is made possible by astounding collaboration between in-country and international partners, including Kenyan, Ghanaian, and Malawian Ministries of Health; in-country assessment associates such as GSK, PATH, UNICEF, and others; and donors such as the Global Fund, Unitaid, and Gavi. GSK spent 30 years researching and developing the RTS malaria vaccine in partnership with PATH and with the aid of a network of African research institutes.