Mainz-based pharmaceutical company Biontech plans to develop the world's first malaria vaccine based on mRNA technology. "Together, we are doing everything we can to develop a safe and effective mRNA-based malaria vaccine," Ugur Sahin, co-founder of Biontech, said Monday.
"It is designed to prevent the disease, reduce mortality and provide a sustainable solution for the African continent and other malaria-affected regions."
According to the statement, the pharmaceutical company will study several mRNA vaccine candidates. According to Sahin, the studies will take place in several countries, including Germany and African nations.
A clinical trial with the most promising candidate is planned for the end of 2022, according to the company. According to WHO estimates, 229 million people worldwide contracted the mosquito-borne disease in 2019 alone.409,000 people died from the disease, with 67 percent of victims being children under the age of five. Africa was particularly hard hit, with 94 percent of malaria cases and deaths.
The company also announced its intention to work with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Union Health Organization (Africa CDC) to develop sustainable solutions for vaccine production and supply in Africa.
He said options are currently being explored for Biontech to establish mRNA production facilities in Africa with partners or on its own. The Mainz-based company and its U.S. partner Pfizer had developed the first Corona vaccine approved in the EU.
It is based on mRNA technology, in which a kind of blueprint for individual viral proteins, also known as antigens, is included with the vaccine. As a result, the body builds up a vaccine protection.Biontech's malaria project is part of the "eradicateMalaria" initiative launched by the non-profit Kenup Foundation to accelerate the eradication of malaria.
Image by Mohamed Nuzrath