Shipment of R21 malaria vaccine to Central African Republic marks latest milestone for child survival
Shipment of R21 malaria vaccine to Central African Republic marks latest milestone for child survival

Shipment of R21 malaria vaccine to Central African Republic marks latest milestone for child survival

Last month, UNICEF delivered over 43,200 doses of the R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine developed through collaboration between Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and Serum Institute of India leveraging by Novavax’s saponin-based adjuvant technology, by air to Bangui, Central African Republic, with further shipment of about 163,800 doses to follow, which is allocated for children in the CAR currently.

The Central African Republic is the first country to receive the R21 malaria vaccine for use in routine childhood immunization, marking another step forward in preventing the disease and saving children’s lives.  

Professor Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, said: ‘The start of large-scale distribution of this highly efficacy and very cost-effective vaccine should mark a pivotal moment in the fight against malaria.’ 

The R21/Matrix-M™ malaria vaccine represents the start of a global effort to eradicate malaria with the addition of vaccine to other measures and highlights Oxford's commitment to addressing global health challenges in regions heavily affected by the disease.

R21 is the second malaria vaccine to be recommended by WHO for children living in endemic areas. Along with the earlier WHO recommendation of the RTS,S vaccine, there is now many-fold greater  vaccine supply for Africa where the disease kills nearly half a million children annually. The rollout of both vaccines is funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Integrating these vaccines into national malaria control plans, along with other interventions, aims to drastically reduce childhood mortality and strengthen the fight against malaria.

Dr Mehreen Datoo, Oxford Vaccine Group said: 'The launch of the R21/Matrix-M™ malaria vaccine marks a pivotal moment in our mission to shape healthier futures for generations to come. This initiative, driven by a coalition of global experts and the relentless pursuit of scientific excellence at Oxford University, stands as a testament to what we can achieve through collaboration and dedication to public health.'

Oxford University aims to reduce malaria's prevalence through the deployment of the R21/Matrix-M™ malaria vaccine. Partnering with the Serum Institute of India and Novavax, Oxford is part of a transformative campaign against malaria in Africa, highlighting the importance of community engagement and global collaboration. Together with partners, the University aims to create a healthier, malaria-free world, crucial to the success of future generations.

Malaria vaccines are an important addition to the fight against the disease. Careful planning is essential to ensure the successful introduction of the malaria vaccines and to combine them with other interventions including insecticide-treated bed nets or targeted indoor residual spraying, chemoprevention, diagnosis and prompt treatments to maximize the impact on public health.