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CLINICAL TRIAL: Ifakara tests new, more effective malaria vaccine

Oct. 4, 2021
CLINICAL TRIAL: Ifakara tests new, more effective malaria vaccine
This is the team conducting the study at Kiwangwa in Bagamoyo. PHOTO | COURTESY/ALLY OLOTU

Ifakara Health Institute researchers administered the first doses of a new malaria vaccine in Tanzania on Saturday, October 2nd 2021. Three babies aged 5 - 36 months received their first jabs at Kiwangwa area in Bagamoyo.

Ifakara’s Head of Interventions & Clinical Trials Dr. Ally Olotu informed that the ongoing study was “part of a multi-center phase three trial that investigates the efficacy of this promising vaccine in four African countries” with the study countries being Tanzania, Kenya, Mali and Burkina Faso.

Earlier this year, a phase two trial of the same vaccine showed an efficacy of 77% against clinical malaria in Burkina Faso in children of same age group – meeting the WHO set milestone of 75% malaria vaccine efficacy by 2030.

The promise shown in early clinical trials raises hopes that the vaccine, technically known as “R21”, might one day prove to be an effective weapon against one of the world’s biggest killers of people, particularly children.

More: About the R21 vaccine
R21 is a modified form of a vaccine that has already been deployed in an ongoing study in hundreds of thousands of children in Malawi, Kenya and Ghana. That vaccine, called RTS,S or Mosquirix, is about 56% effective over one year, and 36% effective over four years. Epidemiologists say, R21 is designed to be both more potent and cheaper to produce than Mosquirix.

Get the official press release