R21 Malaria Vaccine


    In News

    • Nigeria made history with the approval granted a new malaria vaccine- R21/Matrix-M, which has been developed by the University of Oxford and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
      • It is the second country to do so after Ghana. 


    • The R21, otherwise referred to as Matrix-M malaria vaccine, is the second vaccine ever developed for a disease.
    • The first-ever malaria vaccine, RTS, S or mosquirix was approved by the WHO in 2021.
    • Since 2015, 9 countries have been certified by the WHO Director-General as malaria-free, including Maldives, Sri Lanka , Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay, Uzbekistan, Argentina, Algeria, China (2021) and El Salvador (2021).


    • About
      • It is a mosquito-borne blood disease caused by plasmodium protozoa.
      • The parasites spread through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
    • Cause: 
      • It is a life threatening disease caused by plasmodium parasites.
    • Transmission: 
      • The parasites spread through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
      • In the human body, parasites initially multiply in liver cells and then attack the Red Blood Cells (RBCs).
      • There are 5 parasite species that cause Malaria in humans and 2 of these species (Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax) pose the greatest threat.
    • Distribution: 
      • It is predominantly found in the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, South America and Asia.
    • Symptoms: 
      • Fever and flu-like illness, including chills, headache, muscle ache and fatigue.

    Disease burden

    • According to the latest World malaria report, there were 247 million cases of malaria in 2021 compared to 245 million cases in 2020.
    • In 2022 there were over 45 thousand  cases of malaria reported in India.
    • Children under five years of age accounted for about 80 per cent of all malaria deaths in the WHO African Region. 

     Initiatives to Curb Malaria

    • Global Initiatives: 
      • The WHO has also identified 25 countries with the potential to eradicate malaria by 2025 under its ‘E-2025 Initiative’.
      • The WHO’s Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030 aims to reduce malaria case incidence and mortality rates by at least 40% by 2020, at least 75% by 2025 and at least 90% by 2030 against a 2015 baseline.
      • WHO has initiated the High Burden to High Impact (HBHI) initiative in 11 high malaria burden countries, including India. 
      • Implementation of “High Burden to High Impact (HBHI)” initiative has been started in four states i.e. West Bengal and Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
    • Indian Initiatives: 
      • The Government of India set a target to eliminate malaria in India by 2027.
      • It developed a National Framework for Malaria Elimination (2016-2030) 
      • National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination for 5 years.
        • Launched in 2017
        • It shifted focus from Malaria control to elimination.
        • It provided a roadmap to end malaria in 571 districts out of India’s 678 districts by 2022.
      • Malaria Elimination Research Alliance-India (MERA-India)
        • Established by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
        • It is a conglomeration of partners working on malaria control

    Source: ET