Pharmaceuticals Giant BioNTech plans to develop the first mRNA-based vaccine to prevent malaria, which is a life-threatening yet preventable disease that remains a major public health problem for many parts of the world. The company that developed the United States’ first authorized COVID-19 vaccine, along with Pfizer announced Monday.
The Pharmaceutical Giant is planning to start patient trials of a malaria shot using messenger RNA by the end of 2022. Messenger RNA vaccines provide instructions to the body to make a protein that is part of the virus invading microbe, triggering an immune response.
The messenger RNA vaccines are much quicker and simpler to develop than traditional vaccines, hence the development of the COVID-19 vaccine at record speed. While the development of the technology has been in the works for decades, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was the first mRNA vaccine to complete clinical trial stages and be licensed for use after proving to be incredibly effective against the disease. Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, said in a statement that the response to the pandemic has shown that science and innovation can transform people’s lives when all key stakeholders work together towards a common goal.
The World Health Organization European Commission and other organizations have been involved in the early planning of the project. The pharmaceuticalGiantt BioNTech said it is seeking to establish an mRNA vaccine production facility in Africa, which is among the regions that have struggled to secure an adequate supply of vaccine doses. There were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria and at least 409,000 deaths in 2019, according to the WHO. 94% of malaria cases and deaths worldwide occurred in Africa.