Nigeria has approved provisionally the R21/MatrixM malaria vaccine developed at the University of Oxford. This comes less than one week after Ghana was the first to approve this vaccine.
Mojisola Adeyeye is the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). She said that the agency was "approving registration for R21 malaria vaccination". The vaccine, Adeyeye added, "is indicated for the prevention of clinical malaria in children between the ages of five months and 36 months." The vaccine should be stored between 2-8 degrees Celsius.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the Ministry of Health will conduct appropriate immunization tests before the approval is granted. The NAFDAC stated that "a provisional approval for the R21 malaria vaccination was recommended. This shall be done according to the WHO's guideline on malaria vaccine implementation."
Adeyeye said that despite the approval of the vaccine, more clinical trials in Nigeria are still needed. The vaccine showed efficacy levels exceeding 77%. This is higher than the WHO threshold of 75%.
The results of a phase 3 clinical study involving 4,800 Burkina Faso children, Kenyans, Malians, and Tanzanians is still pending publication.
The results of Phase 2 data published in September showed promising results.
According to the WHO report for 2021 (pdf), Africa's largest nation is also the most affected by malaria. It accounts for 32% global deaths. Every year, the country reports 95,000 deaths from malaria among children under the age of five. This is largely because the treatment costs are so high.
The disease is estimated to cost Nigeria, Africa's largest economy, $1.1 billion per year.