Vaccine makerSerum Institute of India has shipped its first R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine consignment to Africa. 

This is the second malaria vaccine authorised globally for children in malaria-endemic regions. It was developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford and Novavax’s Matrix-M adjuvant. The malaria vaccine also received support from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), the Wellcome Trust, and the European Investment Bank (EIB).  (The first vaccine is from GSK, including supply agreements with Bharat Biotech).

The R21/Matrix-M vaccine received WHO recommendation for use in children last October, followed by the announcement of its Phase 3 Trial data results this year. SII has manufactured 25 million doses to date, with a capacity to scale up to 100 million doses annually, it said.

The initial shipment will be sent to the Central African Republic (CAR), followed by other African countries such as South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo in the next coming days, Serum Institute of India (SII) said. Of the 1,63,800 doses of the vaccine allocated for CAR region, 43,200 doses were dispatched from SII’s Pune facility, on Monday.

The company further said that other US delegates, including Eric Garcetti, US Ambassador to India; Dr Mehreen Datoo, Associate Fellow, Clinical Lecturer in Infectious Diseases, Nuffield Department of Medicine University of Oxford; Silvia Taylor, Executive Vice President, Chief Corporate Affairs and Advocacy Officer, Novavax; were present at SII for “various engagements”. “As two diverse democracies, the United States and India have flourishing private sectors that foster innovation, knowledge, and access to high-quality healthcare. The development of the R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine represents a great step forward in our battle against this deadly parasite. The quality, affordable vaccines that will be produced through this partnership between Novavax and SII will prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths every year across the globe,” Ambassador Eric Garcetti said  in the statement.

Umesh Shaligram, SII Executive Director ( R&D), said the shipment markeda momentous milestone in the collective fight against a life-threatening disease. John C. Jacobs, Novavax President and Chief Executive Officer, added, the vaccine would help stop the devastating health and economic impact of malaria on nearly half of the world’s population, including the loss of 1,300 children every day. Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, said. “The start of the distribution at large scale of this high efficacy, very cost-effective vaccine should mark a turning point in the battle against malaria.