Photo credit: Gabe Bienczycki/PATH

The first malaria vaccine, RTS,S, was recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in October 2021, and received WHO prequalification in July 2022.

RTS,S is the first, and to date only, malaria vaccine to have confirmed efficacy and an acceptable safety profile. However, the vaccine has relatively short durability and requires several doses to achieve protection. RTS,S is targeted for children living in areas of moderate to high Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission. 

Work is ongoing to maximize the impact of RTS,S in the context of comprehensive national malaria control plans and to learn from RTS,S for the development of next-generation vaccines. Additional vaccines, like R21/Matrix M, which are likely to exhibit similar levels of efficacy and target the same stage of the parasite's life cycle, are also in development. Access to multiple first-generation vaccines will help to ensure sufficient supply is available for all eligible countries who wish to add a malaria vaccine to their immunization programs. 

Right now, our first-generation vaccine work is focused on ensuring country leaders have the information they need to decide whether, how and when to adopt vaccines, including facilitating conversations and research about delivery options, manufacturing and scale-up, and opportunities for healthy markets.