EDCTP-funded trial of R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine shows efficacy of 77%

24 April 2021

Positive results from an EDCTP-funded clinical trial in Burkina Faso, published as a preprint with The Lancet, demonstrate that the malaria vaccine candidate R21/Matrix-M is safe, immunogenic and has an efficacy of 77%, exceeding the WHO goal of 75% efficacy for malaria vaccines.

“We congratulate the Multi-stage Malaria Vaccine Consortium on these highly promising results from the Burkina Faso trial of R21. This study represents a key advance in the clinical development of the R21 malaria vaccine towards licensure, and an important step closer to malaria control and elimination.”

Dr Michael Makanga, EDCTP Executive Director

The Multi-Stage Malaria Vaccine Consortium

MMVC – the Multi-Stage Malaria Vaccine Consortium – aims to develop the first multi-stage vaccine for malaria, designed to target all four life cycle stages of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite. EDCTP has been funding the ground-breaking research of this Europe-Africa malaria vaccine consortium, led by Professor Hill (University of Oxford), for more than a decade. The consortium which includes leading researchers from Europe, Africa and India is conducting a series of trials in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania, supported by a grant of 15 million euros from EDCTP.

This week, the team reported highly promising results from the phase Ib/IIb trial of R21/Matrix-M in Burkina Faso led by the clinical trial investigator, Professor Halidou Tinto of the Institute of Research in Health Sciences (IRSS) in Burkina Faso. In this trial, children aged 5-17 months were randomised to receive either the R21/Matrix-M candidate (low- or high-dose) or a control vaccine (rabies). Vaccine efficacy of 77% was seen in the higher-dose adjuvant group, and 71% in the lower-dose adjuvant group over 12 months of follow-up, with no serious adverse events related to the vaccine noted. Preparations for a large-scale phase III trial are underway.

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