Ghana Becomes First to Approve “World Changer” Vaccine.


Ghana has become the first country to approve a new malaria vaccine developed by scientists who described it as a “world-changer”. According to BBC, the R21 vaccinations appear significantly more effective than earlier attempts in the same field. The report has it that the final trial results on the vaccines’ safety and efficacy, which are not yet available, have been reviewed and approved for use by Ghana’s drug authorities. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) is also considering approving the vaccine. 

Each year, malaria claims the lives of roughly 620,000 people, the majority of whom are young children. BBC said creating a vaccine against the malaria parasite required a significant, century-long scientific effort. In Burkina Faso, the R21 vaccine was up to 80% effective in clinical trials when administered in three initial doses and a booster one year later. Although the success of a larger experiment involving close to 5,000 children will determine how widely the vaccine is used.

These are anticipated to be scheduled for the end of 2022 but have not been formally released. Nonetheless, they have been shared with several government bodies in Africa and scientists. Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority, based on data has endorsed the vaccine’s use for children between five months to three years old. 

The new malaria vaccine was developed at the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, and according to its Director, Prof. Adrian Hill, African countries declare: “we will decide”, after being left behind in the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines during the pandemic. “We expect R21 to make a major impact on malaria mortality in children in the coming years, and in the longer term, contribute to the overall final goal of malaria eradication and elimination”.

Additionally, with a vaccine factory being built in Accra, Ghana, the Serum Institute of India is preparing to manufacture between 100-200 million doses per year, as each dose of R21 is envisaged to cost a couple of dollars. “Developing a vaccine to impact this huge disease burden greatly has been extraordinarily difficult”, CEO of the Serum Institute, Adar Poonawalla said. He said that Ghana as the first country to approve the vaccine depicts a “significant milestone in our efforts to combat malaria around the world”.

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