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R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine


The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed the R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine, which was jointly developed by the University of Oxford and the Serum Institute of India. This vaccine includes the Matrix-M component, an adjuvant based on saponin developed by Novavax and licensed to the Serum Institute for use in areas where malaria is prevalent. Currently, the vaccine has received licensing for use in Ghana, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Understanding Adjuvants in Vaccines
  2. About Malaria
  3. Government of India Initiatives to Reduce Malaria.

Understanding Adjuvants in Vaccines

  • An adjuvant is a component incorporated into vaccines to boost and improve the immune system’s response to the vaccine.

Enhancing Immune Response:

  • Adjuvants play a crucial role in helping the immune system recognize vaccine components more effectively.
  • They contribute to the immune system’s ability to remember the vaccine’s contents, extending the duration of protection offered by the vaccine.
Matrix-M Adjuvant: A Natural Boost

Derived from Saponins:

  • Matrix-M adjuvant is derived from saponins, which are naturally occurring compounds found in the bark of the Quillaja saponaria tree in Chile.
  • Saponins have a long history of medicinal use.

Immune System Enhancement:

  • Matrix-M adjuvant, based on saponins, enhances the immune response to vaccines, making them more effective.

Prolonged Protection:

  • By improving the immune system’s recognition and memory, Matrix-M adjuvant extends the duration of vaccine protection.

About Malaria

  • The Malaria is a leading cause of human morbidity and mortality.
  • Despite huge progress in tackling the disease, there are still 212 million new cases of malaria and 430,000 malaria-related deaths worldwide each year according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • The Malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite.
  • The parasite can be spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
  • There are many different types of plasmodium parasite, but only 5 types cause malaria in humans.
  • The Children under the age of 5 and pregnant women are most susceptible to the disease.
  • The severity of malaria varies based on the species of plasmodium.
  • The Symptoms are chills, fever and sweating, usually occurring a few weeks after being bitten.

Government of India Initiatives to Reduce Malaria.

  • The India’s progress in fighting malaria is an outcome of concerted efforts to ensure that its malaria programme is country-owned and country-led, even as it is in alignment with globally accepted strategies.
  • At the East Asia Summit in 2015, India pledged to eliminate the disease by 2030.
  • Following this public declaration, India launched the five-year National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination.
  • This marked a shift in focus from malaria “control” to “elimination”.
  • The plan provides a roadmap to achieve the target of ending malaria in 571 districts out of India’s 678 districts by 2022.

-Source: The Hindu

April 2024