Oxford Malaria vaccine to be used in Ghana
A malaria vaccine created by the University of Oxford in the UK has been granted regulatory approval for the first time and will be used in Ghana.
The vaccine, known as R21/Matrix-M, has been approved for use in children aged between 5 and 36 months who are at the highest risk of death from the disease.
The vaccine has been described as a "crucial step" towards fighting malaria in Ghana and across Africa.
"The vaccine has been approved for use in children aged 5-36 months, the age group at highest risk of death from malaria," the university said in a statement.
"It is hoped that this first crucial step will enable the vaccine to help Ghanaian and African children to effectively combat malaria," it added.
Professor Adrian Hill, chief investigator of the vaccine programme, said the approval marked the culmination of 30 years of malaria vaccine research at Oxford. Last year, research found that the vaccine was 77% effective at preventing malaria.
It will be recalled that the World Health Organization recommended a vaccine produced by the British pharmaceutical company GSK for widespread use against malaria. The vaccine has since been given to over one million children in Africa. However, studies have indicated that the vaccine's effectiveness is only around 60%, and even with a booster dose, its effectiveness decreases over time.