Doctors Without Borders awaits further tests on malaria vaccine
The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), a branch of the WHO, recently recommended that there needs to be more research for the RTS,S malaria vaccine on thoroughly monitored demonstration sites.
The MSF will consider RTS,S in the future, but for now the agency requests further details about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.
“Considering the RTS,S malaria vaccine is at best effective about one-third of the time, and requires four doses, we think that WHO has made a rational recommendation based on the evidence available for the vaccine’s limited use, but urges caution and close monitoring,” MSF Medical Director Micaela Serafini said. “Most areas with a high burden of malaria cases are in low-resource settings with weak health systems, so the successful introduction of RTS,S in these areas would be extremely challenging, requiring intensive resourcing better placed on scaling up existing malaria treatment and prevention activities.”
Further research must be conducted for RTS,S to receive full support from the MSF.
“While we commend the researchers for developing the first malaria vaccine candidate to be tested in a large-scale clinical trial, RTS,S ultimately does not meet the criteria needed to provide adequate protection for those who need it most,” Serafini said. “We now need to accelerate investment and development of new malaria vaccines that are safe, effective, affordable and easy to use in the highest-burden areas.”