The first malaria vaccine from Oxford University has received regulatory approval in Ghana, making it the first major vaccine to be approved in an African country before rich nations.
The vaccine, which has a manufacturing advantage thanks to a deal with the Serum Institute of India to produce up to 200 million doses annually, has secured approval in the age group most at risk of death from malaria – children aged 5 to 36 months.
Malaria kills over 600,000 people each year, with most being children in Africa. The vaccine has already demonstrated an effectiveness rate of 80% in a trial involving more than 400 young children, with late-stage data suggesting similar performance to the phase II trial.
Unlike traditional vaccination programs in Africa, which are paid for by international organizations like Gavi and UNICEF, the Oxford vaccine was approved first by an African regulatory authority before the WHO.