Rebecca Adhiambo, who lives in Kisumu, Kenya, has two children. But he worries all the time about his four-year-old son. He still has malaria attacks. Sometimes your body starts to warm up with a sudden chill and then you start sweating until you run out of breath. Rebecca’s youngest son is a year and a half old and is completely healthy.
Rebecca says, “The older son wasn’t vaccinated and is often sick. The younger one has been vaccinated and doesn’t get sick.” The youngest child has received the Mosquirix vaccine against malaria as part of a pilot program.
‘Historic’: first approved malaria vaccine
Rebecca is one of the few mothers whose son has been vaccinated against malaria. There are still millions of children on the African continent who are being murdered because of malaria. Worldwide, this disease kills 6,000 people each year. 95 percent of these deaths occur in African countries, every minute a child dies.
Malaria kills a child every minute in Africa
The British company GSK has a formula for a vaccine to prevent malaria. But the company does not have enough resources to produce vaccines on a large scale. Reuters news agency spoke with the World Health Organization (WHO), GSK employees, scientists and non-profit organizations about it.
The British pharmaceutical company promises that from 2028 it will manufacture 15 million vaccines each year. But after reviewing the 2019 pilot program, the WHO believes that figure will not be enough. There is little chance that millions of vaccines will be available on the market by 2026.
GSK Pharmaceutical Company Office
A GSK spokesman told Reuters that the lack of funds is affecting vaccine production, called Mosquirix. Thomas Brouer, the company’s director of global health, says: “In the next 5 or 10 years, demand will exceed current supply estimates.”
New technology to eliminate malaria
However, this vaccine is only about 30% successful in preventing malaria. These 30 percent effectiveness data have come out after large clinical trials. Some officials believe another vaccine being tested at Oxford University will be better, but for now it will take several years to hit the market.
disease of the poor
“Mosquirix could also save many valuable lives before a new vaccine is introduced,” says Ghana’s state health expert Kawame Amponsa-Achian. According to Amponsa-Achian, who reviewed the pilot vaccination program in Ghana, “the longer we wait, the more children will be killed unnecessarily.”
Malaria vaccine production hung up because of the benefits
There is no demand for malaria vaccine in developed countries. Pharmaceutical companies believe they will not benefit from selling drugs at very cheap prices in Africa. “It’s a disease of the poor and that’s why there’s not much interest in the market,” says Corinne Karema, executive director of the nonprofit RBM Partnership to End Malaria.
Expectations of Bharat Biotech
The WHO estimates that 100 million doses of the vaccine are needed each year to fight malaria. A child should be vaccinated four times. In this context, 2.5 million children will be vaccinated. According to WHO officials, only 40,000 to 80,000 children could be saved each year due to Mosquirix’s scarce supply.
Bharat Biotech is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world
GSK, the maker of Mosquirix, admits it has no capacity to supply the vaccine outside the pilot project before 2024. The company has so far spent $ 84 million to increase its capacity. The company says it will add a maximum of 5 percent more to the cost of the vaccine. Prices will not rise beyond that. Despite this, according to the WHO, the cost of a vaccine will be at least five dollars, which is too much for Africa.
After 2028, Indian company Bharat Biotech will produce the key ingredients of Mosquirix. Brouer, a GSK official, hopes the link with Bharat Biotech will go a long way in increasing production. Bharat Biotech has not yet designed its manufacturing plant.
OSJ / MJ (Reuters)