Malaria and the Historic RTS,S Vaccine

The Metaculus Journal

Jul 6 2022 • 21 mins

The following essay was contributed by public health researcher Jon Servello.

This essay makes extensive use of abbreviations. The list can be found here.

Malaria caused 627,000 deaths in 2020, largely among children under five years of age in sub-Saharan Africa. Interventions aimed at preventative treatment could save a considerable number of lives, bring about long-term economic benefits to countries with endemic malaria, and yield substantial benefits to humanity as a whole.

After decades of varied success in vaccine development, a four-dose regimen of RTS,S/AS01 (brand name Mosquirix) showed promising initial results in preventing clinical disease from Plasmodium falciparum at 11 trial sites across west and central Africa, though this quickly declined to an average of 25.9% efficacy in the 6 to 12 week old age range, and 36.3% in the 5 to 17 month range. The European Medicines Agency licensed the vaccine in 2015, and RTS,S/AS01 is being rolled out via the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Program (MVIP) by the World Health Organization in Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya.

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