Ghana has become the first nation in the world to approve a novel malaria vaccine from Oxford University. Children under the age of three would be benefitted.
More than 600,000 people every year die from the mosquito-borne disease, the majority of them youngsters in Africa. Scientists have been working on vaccine development for years. It is not yet known when the Oxford vaccine will begin to be distributed in Ghana.
The World Health Organization (WHO), which is still evaluating the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, normally supports childhood vaccination programmes in Africa by funding them through agencies like Gavi and UNICEF.
However, according to Oxford researcher Adrian Hill, Ghana’s medication authority has approved it for the age group most at risk of dying from malaria – infants between the ages of 5 and 36 months. With the help of a contract with the Serum Institute of India, it can make up to 200 million doses yearly.
According to Hill, this is the first time a significant vaccination has been licenced in an African nation before being distributed to wealthy nations.
He continued that it was odd that an African regulatory body had seen the material earlier than the WHO.
Particularly since COVID, African regulators have adopted a considerably more proactive approach, asserting that they don’t want to be last in line, according to Hill.
After decades of development, the first malaria vaccine, Mosquirix from the British pharmaceutical company, was approved by the WHO last year. The company was unable to manufacture the required number of doses due to a lack of funds and economic viability.
Up to 15 million doses of Mosquirix will be produced annually by GSK through 2028, far fewer than the about 100 million doses a year of the four-dose vaccination that the WHO estimates will be required in the long run to protect about 25 million children.
All three countries—Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi—participated in the Mosquirix pilot scheme and have just started implementing it more broadly.