Team behind Oxford Covid jab start final stage of malaria vaccine trials

Vaccine could be in use by 2024 if next year’s human trials are successful

The Oxford team that has produced a successful coronavirus vaccine is about to enter the final stage of human trials in its quest for an inoculation against malaria.

The Jenner Institute director, Prof Adrian Hill, said the malaria vaccine would be tested on 4,800 children in Africa next year after early trials yielded promising results.

In an interview with the Times, Hill said malaria was a public health emergency.

More than 400,000 people a year die of the disease, and in Africa a child under five dies every two minutes.

“A lot more people will die in Africa this year from malaria than will die from Covid. I don’t mean twice as many, probably 10 times,” Hill said. The vaccine “is going to be available in very large amounts, it works pretty well. And it’s going to be very low priced.”

The vaccine could be in use by 2024 if the final human trials are successful, he said. It is regarded as a potentially huge breakthrough, given that no vaccine is fully licensed for malaria despite a century of research. GSK is the only pharmaceutical company to have got close, but its product had only 30% efficacy.

The institute’s coronavirus vaccine is also intended to be cheap and available at scale in developing countries. Trials of the jab will start in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania and Mali next year. Early phase 2 trials look good so far, and Oxford has joined with the Serum Institute in India to produce doses.

It comes as the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine awaits regulatory approval for use in the UK. Oxford researchers announced their vaccine had 62% efficacy in most volunteers, compared with over 90% recorded for those produced by Pfizer and Moderna.

The researchers said, however, that a sub-set of volunteers had mistakenly been given a lower dose of the vaccine as a result of manufacturing problems and that lower dosage produced a higher efficacy of about 90%. They had no explanation for the anomaly.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the extent to which the world remains at threat from infectious diseases,” Azra Ghani, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College London, told the Times. “A highly effective vaccine against malaria could have a significant impact in reducing this risk.”


Sarah Marsh

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Oxford malaria vaccine proves highly effective in Burkina Faso trial
Vaccine developed by scientists at Jenner Institute, Oxford, shows up to 77% efficacy in trial over 12 months

Sarah Boseley Health editor

23, Apr, 2021 @4:01 AM

Article image
Coronavirus vaccine: Oxford team aim to start lab-controlled human trial soon
Jenner Institute at Oxford looks to recruit healthy volunteers for controversial ‘challenge trial’

Hannah Devlin Science correspondent

16, Jul, 2020 @4:11 PM

Article image
Tweaked Moderna vaccine ‘neutralises Covid variants in trials’
Limited data from small test trial shows positive results against South Africa and Brazil strains

Sarah Boseley

05, May, 2021 @8:05 PM

Article image
UK to spend £30m on trials infecting young people to hasten Covid vaccine
London-based hVivo to take part in world’s first coronavirus ‘challenge trials’

Natalie Grover

20, Oct, 2020 @11:09 AM

Article image
Oxford University resumes Covid-19 vaccine trials
Trials of vaccine being developed with AstraZeneca had been paused after participant fell ill

Jamie Doward

12, Sep, 2020 @2:50 PM

Article image
Flu, cancer, HIV: after Covid success, what next for mRNA vaccines?
The technology was viewed with scepticism before the pandemic but there is now growing confidence about its use

Hannah Devlin Science correspondent

01, Nov, 2021 @11:45 AM

Cancer hope as vaccine trials start

Doctors aim to save thousands of lives by forcing the body's immune system to destroy tumours.

Jo Revill, health editor

27, Aug, 2006 @1:02 PM

Article image
UK to begin using Oxford Covid vaccine as PM strikes hopeful tone
Boris Johnson says he hopes pace of vaccination can be ramped up to protect tens of millions in months

Sarah Boseley Health editor

03, Jan, 2021 @7:46 PM

Article image
High street pharmacies to start offering Oxford Covid vaccine next week
Move is part of UK government’s push to immunise 13 million vulnerable people by mid-February

Ian Sample and Denis Campbell

06, Jan, 2021 @8:13 PM

Article image
A series of knocks: Oxford/AstraZeneca's bumpy road to Covid vaccine confidence
From doubts about efficacy in older people to questions about variants, scientists have faced a battle to convince the public and regulators

Sarah Boseley Health editor

09, Feb, 2021 @2:47 PM