Ghana, an African country has become the first country in the world to approve the use of R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority licensed the use of the University of Oxford-developed and Serum Institute of India PvT Ltd (SIIPL)-manufactured and scaled up R21/Matrix-MTM malaria vaccine, leveraging Novavax’s adjuvant technology.

This marks a critical step towards reducing over half a million malaria-related deaths annually and improving the health outcomes of millions of people in the African continent and beyond as it marks the first regulatory clearance for the R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine for use in any country.

The vaccine has been approved for use in children aged 5 to 36 months, the age group at highest risk of death from malaria, and it is hoped that this first crucial step will enable the vaccine to help Ghanaian and African children to effectively combat malaria.

The successful registration, according to a statement by a Senior Associate, Sofija Dilas, was notified to the manufacturing and commercialisation license holder for the vaccine, SIIPL by the FDA Ghana.

In 2021, a different vaccine produced by GSK became the first to be recommended for widespread use against malaria by the World Health Organization, and has now been administered to more than a million children in Africa.

But research has found that the effectiveness of GSK’s vaccine is around 60 percent, and significantly wanes over time even with a booster dose.

Oxford’s R21/Matrix-M vaccine meanwhile was found to be 77 percent effective at preventing malaria in research published last year beating the percent goal set by the WHO.