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WHO Recommends >75% Effective Malaria Vaccine

Healthy Communities Biosecurity Tournament

Question

In October 2021, a vaccine against malaria was for the first time recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for widespread use among children living in areas with moderate-to-high malaria transmission. In a phase III trial the recommended vaccine, RTS,S/AS01, had demonstrated efficacy of 55.8% against clinical malaria over the first 12 months after the third dose among children aged 5–17 months. As of April 2022, over one million children have received at least one dose of RTS,S/AS01.

To date, the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine remains the only malaria vaccine to have been recommended for widespread use in areas with moderate-to-high malaria transmission. However, RTS,S/AS01 does not meet the >75% efficacy against clinical malaria aimed for by WHO's Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap. There thus remains interest in developing more effective vaccines against malaria that can meet this target. As of October 2021, More than a dozen vaccine candidates are in development. In April 2021, the higher-adjuvant group in a Phase IIb trial of the vaccine candidate R21/Matrix-M demonstrated 77% efficacy against clinical malaria among children aged 5–17 months. Phase III testing of R21/Matrix-M is now underway to see if this 77% figure will still hold in a larger trial.

The purpose of this question is to understand when there might be a more effective malaria vaccine in widespread use among children. Malaria is estimated to kill about half a million children every year, according to WHO.

When will WHO recommend widespread use of a malaria vaccine that is >75% effective?

This question will resolve as the date that WHO recommends widespread use of a >75% effective malaria vaccine among children living in areas with moderate-to-high malaria transmission. The >75% effectiveness figure against clinical malaria must come from a phase III trial that, at minimum, has 1,000 children aged 5–17 months. The resolution date will be the date when WHO makes this formal announcement.

If this has not occurred by December 31, 2032, this question will resolve as > December 31, 2032.

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