Ghana is first to approve Oxford malaria vax

April 13, 2023

This week, Ghana became the first country in the world to approve an Oxford University-developed vaccine against malaria.

In Ghana, approximately 20,000 children pass away annually due to malaria, and a quarter of them are under the age of five. As part of its efforts to combat child mortality caused by the disease, the country’s Food and Drugs Authority has authorized the use of a vaccine for children between the ages of five months and three years.

The jab, R21/Matrix-M, was shown to surpass the WHO’s 75% efficacy threshold, demonstrating 77% effectiveness at preventing disease in clinical studies. In phase 1/2b trials, the vaccine showed that administering a fourth booster dose 12 months after the primary 3-dose series also provided additional benefits. The high-dose adjuvant group maintained a vaccine efficacy of 80% over 12 months following the booster dose and 75% over 24 months since receiving the initial three doses.

The vaccine includes the Matrix-M adjuvant, a proprietary saponin-based compound developed by Novavax and created by the University of Oxford Jenner Institute. R21/Matrix-M will be manufactured by The Serum Institute of India , the largest vaccine-producing company in the world.  The Institute says it is confident that it can deliver more than 200 million doses annually.