A GSK spokesman told Reuters it could not produce enough of its vaccine Mosquirix to meet huge demand without more funding from international donors.
London, Kisumu, Kenya: After decades of work, the World Health Organization last year endorsed a malaria vaccine for the first time – a historic milestone that promised to kick back a disease that kills a child every minute.
In fact, due to a lack of funding and a lack of commercial capacity, GSK plc failed to have the ability to produce as many doses of its shot as needed, along with nearly a dozen WHO officials, GSK employees, and scientists, and Reuters. According to the interviews, the efforts are falling short. non-profit group.
The British drugmaker committed, following its 2019 pilot programs, to produce 15 million doses every year through 2028 – far less than what it needs according to the WHO. According to a source close to the vaccine rollout, there are currently unlikely to be more than a few million annually before 2026.
A GSK spokesperson told Reuters it cannot make enough of its vaccine Mosquirix to meet large demand without more funding from international donors, without the number of doses expected to be produced annually in the first years of the roll-out. Without giving details about
“In the next five to 10 years, demand will probably outpace current forecasts on supply,” said Thomas Breuer, GSK’s chief global health officer.
The vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing severe cases of malaria in children is relatively low, about 30% in large-scale clinical trials. Some officials and donors are hoping the second shot being tested by Oxford University could prove to be better, cheaper, and easier to produce in bulk.
Yet the world’s inability to have more Mosquirix shots frustrates many in Africa. The continent’s children account for the vast majority of the approximately 600,000 global malaria deaths each year.
“The mosquito has the potential to save a lot of precious lives before another new vaccine arrives,” said Kwame Emponsa-Shimano, a public health expert who led a pilot vaccination program in Ghana. “The longer we wait, the more children needlessly die.”
Rebecca Adhiambo Kwanya in the Kenyan town of Kisumu needs no faith: Her four-year-old Betrun has suffered multiple malaria bouts since birth, yet her 18-month-old Bradley – who has been vaccinated in a pilot program – Hasn’t caught it.
“My elder was not vaccinated and was sick and on,” she said. “But the little one, he got vaccinated and wasn’t even sick.”
The limited international appetite for the production and distribution of more Mosquirix stands in contrast to the record speed and funding with which wealthy countries acquired vaccines for COVID-19, a disease that poses relatively little risk to children.
Unlike many pharmaceutical products, there is no large market for malaria vaccines in the developed world, where pharmaceutical companies typically make large profits, which allows them to make their products available at very low prices in poor countries.
Corinne Karima, chief executive officer of the non-profit RBM Partnership to End Malaria, which is working with governments in Africa to eliminate the disease, said: “It is a disease of the poor, so it is an attractive market. Not there.”
“But every minute a child dies from malaria – that’s unacceptable.”
Additional data, years added
In the coming weeks, global health organizations will announce the next steps to make Mosquirix widely available, including the first procurement deal and the WHO’s recommended allocation of nearly 10 million children at highest risk, familiar with the rollout plans. The source said.
In the long run, WHO officials say a four-dose vaccine would require about 100 million doses a year, covering about 25 million children. When U. The agency backed Mosquirix last October, saying even a small supply could save 40,000 to 80,000 lives each year, without specifying the number of doses needed.
GSK’s maximum target of 15 million doses could prevent about 20,000 deaths each year, according to a Reuters review of the malaria vaccine model used by the WHO.
Yet the WHO and other malaria efforts could even take years to kill 15 million, according to several officials, who said widespread distribution beyond pilot countries was not possible before the start of 2024, and even then it started slowly. Will happen.
GSK will also have to upgrade its manufacturing capacity to reach its target. It said it established a funding deal with the international vaccine alliance Gavi to help stockpile a key component of the shot to ensure there was no gap in supply during that process.
“We are on course to meet the agreed stockpiling volume,” a spokesperson said.
The drugmaker has invested £700 million ($840 million) in vaccine development and said it would charge no more than 5% of the cost to produce it.
“No company wants to be in a position where you end up manufacturing that oversees the market and not using vaccines.
“We should have had this vaccine much earlier,” said Alassen Diko, a professor of public health at Bamako’s the University of Science, Technology, and Technology in Mali, who has led some of the Mosquirix trials. “We have to do more.”