A new vaccine could eradicate malaria. The R21 vaccine is already shown to be 77% effective after the initial doses and maintains its high efficacy after a single booster jab.
Prof Adrian Hill, director of Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, said R21 could help to reduce deaths from the disease by 70% by 2030 and eradicate it by 2040.
The bad news is that getting the vaccine into the arms of tens of millions of African children who most need it would be a challenge without funding.
The body that provides more than half of all financing for the world’s malaria programmes, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has warned that unless it receives significantly more money from leading donor countries such as the UK at its pledging conference this month, it will not be able to get the fight against those diseases back on track after the Covid pandemic.
The UK has not yet said what it will pledge in New York, but the fund is thought to have asked for about £1.8bn. As foreign secretary, Truss outlined a strategy for overseas aid marked by an overall spending reduction and a retreat from the funding of multilateral organisations like the Global Fund.
“It’s incredibly important that the Global Fund is properly refunded. What they do is absolutely amazing,” said Hill.
Prof Halidou Tinto, regional director of the health sciences research institute (IRSS) in Nanoro, and the Burkina Faso trial principal investigator, said that while production was not expected to be an issue, the big challenge for poor African countries was how to fund the vaccine’s rollout. “This may be … the issue that could delay the deployment,” he said.