For Africa at large and Nigeria in particular, malaria remains the single most common condition that affects people. There are quite high chances that everyone reading this has had to battle the infection at one point or the other. Its devastating effects are seen more in children and pregnant women. This is why the news of a malaria vaccine has come across as a huge relief to many. In this article, we will discuss the current details of the vaccine before mass production for public use commences.
The Oxford malaria vaccine was developed by researchers at the Jenner Institute of Oxford University. It is the first vaccine that meets the WHO goal of 75% efficacy against the disease. A major previous attempt was only successful up to 39%, which is less than half of the 77% efficacy for the Oxford vaccine. This value was confirmed in a study involving 450 children over a year.
Scientists say that this new development has the potential to cut down malarial deaths from 400,000/year to tens of thousands or even less in half a decade. Antimalarial therapy and insecticide-treated nets have done a good job of bringing it down from a million deaths every year, with most of it happening in Sub-Saharan Africa. Of course, the eventual goal is total eradication.
The researchers are currently considering emergency use authorization, and this means that the vaccine will not pass through the usual clinical trials. This is the same thing that was done for the Covid-19 vaccine, given its urgent need. Malaria still kills more people than Covid-19 in Nigeria and an emergency use authorization is only valid. It’s also commendable that the vaccine will be produced on a huge scale up to 200m a year and at a subsidized cost. This will make it very available to the third world African countries that need it.
With the current situation of things with the pandemic, the possibility of mass production and approval may not be until the end of 2022. However, an end in sight makes for good news.