More than 130 years after discovering and naming of the Plasmodium parasites behind malaria, the world now has its first approved vaccine against them. Many malaria researchers have celebrated the development, but others have expressed concerns over the deployment of a vaccine that has only moderate efficacy.

On 6 October, the World Health Organization (WHO) backed the vaccine called RTS,S and recommended its widespread use among children in sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to the deadliest malaria parasite.

Researchers have been developing and testing the RTS,S vaccine, also known by its brand name, Mosquirix, since 1987, at a cost of more than US$750 million. This was funded mainly by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, and the London-based pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

RTS,S has only modest efficacy, preventing about 30% of severe malaria cases after a series of four injections in children under the age of five. Nevertheless, one of the studies suggests that it could prevent the deaths of 23,000 children a year, if the full series of doses were given to all kids in countries with a high incidence of malaria, what makes a significant dent in the tremendous toll of the disease, which killed 411,000 people only in 2018.

In October 2021 WHO, shared the key findings, to date, from the pilot program:

These findings, together with those from earlier clinical trials, informed the WHO recommendation for the broad use of the RTS,S vaccine among children at risk in Africa and in other areas with moderate to high malaria transmission.

Hardly anyone realizes that Clinmark has its contribution to this success and breakthrough. Our role was yet not that significant but unique and supportive through the role which Clinmark CEO – Dr. Marek Wasiluk- played in this project.

Marek Wasiluk, who is highly skilled research and quality person, with vast experience in clinical trials and quality of clinical research, has been traveling to Africa since 2005 numerous times, and has been participating as an expert and advisor in clinical trials standardization process in the region. His role was quite complex to carry out quality audits, to consult and mentor local leaders on how to implement the GCP and improve health care standards to the realities of Africa. One of his projects was active participation in clinical trials for malaria vaccine. Having had the opportunity to see first-hand the realities of this region of the world, we are even more excited about the breakthrough this vaccine provides.

Malaria vaccine was not the only one we have been extensively working at. Clinmark as a CRO has vast experience in scientific and clinical research of vaccines for Common Flu and Rotavirus which were concluded with an authorization success. Apart from that Clinmark has been cooperating in numerous other vaccine research projects, including HPV, HIV, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Cancer vaccines.

At Clinmark we are very proud of the Malaria vaccine project success, and our CEO, Dr. Marek Wasiluk engagement in supporting Africa research.

The cooperation with African countries initiated in 2005 is still being developed more widely and pan-African at Clinmark and will be continued. If you are interested in entering these markets, gaining know-how or facing challenges of any nature operating in Africa, or need advisory, feel free contact us. We are always happy to share our experiences. For more information please visit: https://clinmark.eu/ or contact us by e-mail.