Home Business Oxford malaria vaccine data bode well for fight against deadly disease Reuters

Oxford malaria vaccine data bode well for fight against deadly disease Reuters


© Reuters.

Natalie Grover

LONDON (Reuters) – Encouraging new data on a malaria vaccine from Oxford University bodes well for global efforts to fight the mosquito-borne disease that kills a child every minute, its makers said on Wednesday.

After decades of work, the only approved malaria vaccine, Mosquirix, made by British drugmaker GSK, was recently approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Oxford’s vaccine, called R21/Matrix-M, is likely to be more effective than Mosquirix at preventing the disease, which kills about 600,000 people a year, despite an estimated $3 billion spent annually on bed bug insecticides nets and antimalarial drugs, said Oxford scientist Adrian Hill.

It also has a manufacturing advantage, he said, citing a deal with the Serum Institute of India to produce 200 million doses annually starting in 2023.

In contrast, GSK has committed to producing up to 15 million doses of Mosquirix annually by 2028, far less than the roughly 100 million doses of the four-dose vaccine per year that the WHO says is needed in the long term to cover about 25 million children. .

GSK said it could not produce enough Mosquirix to meet the huge demand without additional funds from international donors.

On Wednesday, data from an interim study of more than 400 young children who received a fourth dose of the shot in Oxford after a basic three-dose regimen were published: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/ PIIS1473-3099(22)00442 -X/full text in Lancet.

Vaccine efficacy was 80% in the group receiving the higher dose of the immunostimulating adjuvant component of the vaccine and 70% in the lower dose adjuvant group 12 months after the fourth dose. The doses were administered on the eve of the peak malaria season in Burkina Faso.


The complex structure and life cycle of the malaria parasite have long hindered the development of vaccines. GSK’s Mosquirix was conceived back in the 1980s and paved the way for the Oxford team to create a more potent vaccine, Hill said.

However, it is difficult to make a direct comparison between the two shots, given that data from a large, long-term phase III trial involving 4,800 participants is still to come.

Meanwhile, late-stage trial data published last year showed that when Mosquirix was administered just before the peak malaria season in areas with high malaria transmission, it was nearly 63% effective https://www.nejm.org/doi/full /10.1056/NEJMoa2026330 against clinical malaria.

Comparisons between the two vaccines at this stage should be preliminary, given that they have not yet been directly compared in a single trial, said David Conway of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

However, the phase II data show that the Oxford vaccine is a step forward compared to Mosquirix, improving the efficacy and maintenance of immunity, said Alistair Craig of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Oxford expects to submit phase III data to the WHO soon, hoping for key approval next year.

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