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Vivian Xie
8 Sep 2022

Oxford University presents promising phase II data for malaria vaccine

The malaria vaccine R21/Matrix-M, developed by researchers at Oxford University, has produced encouraging new data for the global effort against the mosquito-borne disease. 

Oxford University’s malaria vaccine R21/Matrix-M has demonstrated promising new data on its effectiveness against the mosquito-borne disease, potentially carving a way forward from the only WHO-endorsed malaria vaccine currently available, Mosquirix.

Developed and produced by GSK, Mosquirix remains the only malaria vaccine approved by the WHO. It was conceived back in the 1980s, with late-stage trial data published in 2021 establishing an approximately 63% effectiveness rate against clinical malaria. Though GSK has stated plans to produce up to 15 million doses of Mosquirix every year until 2028, this remains well under the approximately 100 million four-dose vaccines required per year to cover 25 million children. GSK has claimed that without funds from international donors, it cannot commit to such a vast demand. 

Data from Oxford University, in contrast, has demonstrated a vaccine effectiveness of 80% in a group that received a higher dose of the immune-boosting adjuvant component among over 400 young children who received a fourth dose after the primary three-dose regime. A manufacturing advantage for the Oxford vaccine has also been provided, with a deal with Serum Institute of India to begin producing 200 million doses annually in 2023. Though such data and deals are promising, comparison between Mosquirix and R21/Matrix-M is still tentative as a larger phase III trial for the Oxford vaccine involving 4800 individuals is still underway. “Comparisons between the two vaccines at this stage must be tentative, given they have not yet been compared head-to-head in the same trial,” stated David Conway from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. 

Alister Craig from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine expanded: “However, these phase II data suggest the Oxford shot is a step forward from Mosquirix, improving efficacy and the retention of immunity.” 

A key endorsement is expected once Oxford University submits its phase III data to the WHO imminently.  

Source: Oxford malaria vaccine data bodes well for effort to combat deadly disease | Reuters 

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