Tested in 450 children, the candidate R21 / Matrix-M malaria vaccine shows an efficacy of approximately 77%, making it the first vaccine to achieve the 75% vaccine efficacy target set by the WHO.
Work on the vaccine was carried out by researchers at the Nanoro Clinical Research Unit in Burkina Faso and their colleagues at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, who published the information late last week.
To achieve this result, the researchers recruited 450 children aged 5 to 17 months in the area of the Nanoro Demographic and Health Surveillance System in the Center-West region of the country.
“We believe that the solution against malaria will come from Burkina Faso. We encourage the team to continue the 3μι phase to place a vaccine on the market that will allow us to reduce morbidity and mortality due to malaria
Charlemagne Ouédraogo, Minister for Health, Burkina Faso
The children were divided into three groups. A group of 150 received the vaccine at a low dose. A group of 150 received the vaccine at a higher dose. And the last group of 150 received a control vaccine which is the rabies vaccine.
“Once we vaccinated them with three doses, one month between different doses, we monitored them in each group to see how they would behave in terms of safety, tolerance, and effectiveness of the vaccine,” explains Burkinabè Halidou Tinto, lead researcher. of the project received the highest dose and 71% in the lower dose group.
“When we compare children who received the highest dose of the vaccine with those who did not receive the vaccine, that is, those who received the rabies vaccine, we see 77% protection in those who received the vaccine. This means that the risk of a child in the group who did not receive the vaccine developing malaria during the year is 77% “, says Halidou Tinto.
The researchers also found that people in the study did not report any serious side effects associated with the vaccine. Which in the opinion of the latter is already very positive. In terms of safety, the research team noted that the vaccine has an incredible, flawless tolerance.
According to the research team, the WHO goal was that by 2030, a vaccine could be available that could protect at least 75% of malaria. This clinical trial was involved in this movement.
For epidemiologist Gauthier Tougouri, coordinator of the National Malaria Control Program in Burkina Faso, this study is a major breakthrough in the fight against malaria, given the harmful effects of this disease on the population.
According to the foundation, in 2020, more than 11 million cases of malaria were reported at health facilities in Burkina Faso with 3,966 deaths, including pregnant women and children.
“I hope that the forthcoming results will confirm phase 2 of the study to reach the meeting point of 2030 for the eradication of malaria,” Gautier Tuguri wished.
In fact, phase 3 of the study will involve 4,800 children in 4 countries. In Burkina Faso, children will be recruited and tested in Nanoro (Center-West) and Dandé (South-West) from May 2021.
“It’s important for us to see if such a vaccine, which has been tested in an area like Nanoro that has a medium duration transmission, will give the same effectiveness in an area like Dandé where the transmission is much higher,” says Halidou. Tinto.
The lead researcher on the clinical trial program for the R21 / Matrix-M candidate vaccine believes that it is also important to see if we will have the same efficacy in another epidemiological context where transmission is perineal, ie permanent, as in Tanzania and Kenya.
According to his explanations, by testing this vaccine in these different environments in a large number of children (4,800) we will be able to confirm this effectiveness and we will consider its registration.
Charlemagne Ouédraogo, Minister of Health of Burkina Faso welcomed the contribution of the Nanoro Clinical Research Unit team to this project, which in turn gives hope for the eradication of malaria in Burkina Faso and Africa.
“We believe that the solution against malaria will come from Burkina Faso. We encourage the team to continue the 3μι “to give us results that will allow us to go further, to put a vaccine on the market that will allow us to reduce morbidity and mortality due to malaria,” says an analysis shared by Ida Sawadogo, head of the the core drug access network (RAME) and a representative of civil society organizations involved in the fight against malaria.
“We have been waiting for this for years and we are happy that a vaccine has finally been found against this disease which is the number one killer in our country,” he said.
He calls for it to pass so that the State and its partners can support studies under this vaccine to end the persistent malaria that continues to cause many casualties in the country and around the world.
No. Abdel Aziz Nabaloum, Scidev
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