We developed the first malaria vaccine, now what?

PATH has played a key role in the development and introduction of the groundbreaking first malaria vaccine. Now it is time to expand childhood vaccination, ensure the long-term supply of RTS,S, and advance the research of next-generation malaria vaccines.

In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the RTS,S vaccine against malaria for broader use. Two months later, the Gavi Board approved funding to support malaria vaccine roll-out in sub-Saharan Africa. Not only is this the first malaria vaccine to earn such a recommendation and support, but it’s also the world’s first vaccine against a parasite.

At PATH, we’ve been working on the development and implementation of RTS,S for more than 20 years—first with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials, and, since 2017, with WHO, GSK and the ministries of health in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi on the pilot implementation and evaluation of the vaccine.

Next steps for the vaccine include funding decisions to support broader rollout and country decisions on whether to adopt the vaccine.

It has been a long road, and it is extremely exciting to finally be able to say that RTS,S could soon be available—alongside other malaria interventions—to protect more children at risk from the disease.

Read more for an exploration of the malaria vaccine’s potential impact and how we are working to expand access and ensure the long-term supply of the malaria vaccine.

Public health impact
For every 200 fully vaccinated children, one death could be averted in areas of moderate to high malaria transmission
Malaria vaccine Q&A

Ashley Birkett, PhD, head of PATH’s Malaria Vaccine Initiative, talks about next steps for RTS,S and work to develop the next generation of malaria vaccines and biologics.

Health volunteers collaborate to reach every child

When the new malaria vaccine arrived in Malawi, health volunteers worked with their communities to answer questions and spread awareness.

The RTS,S malaria vaccine fact-sheet

RTS,S aims to trigger the immune system to defend against the first stages of malaria when the Plasmodium falciparum parasite enters the human host’s bloodstream through a mosquito bite and infects liver cells. The vaccine is designed to prevent the parasite from infecting the liver, where it can mature, multiply, reenter the bloodstream, and infect red blood cells, which can lead to disease symptoms.

New York Times - A ‘Historic Event’: First Malaria Vaccine Approved by W.H.O.

"The malaria parasite, carried by mosquitoes, is a particularly insidious enemy because it can strike the same person over and over. In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, even those where most people sleep under insecticide-treated bed nets, children have on average six malaria episodes a year."

A multi-pronged approach
Working to reach around 90% of children at risk with either a net, the vaccine or both
Promising new tools against malaria

Mosquito nets treated with new ingredients show greater reductions in malaria than standard insecticide-treated nets.

10 images that capture our malaria elimination efforts

While navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, the global malaria community continues advancing its mission to eliminate malaria. Here are ten highlights that show what PATH Malaria and partners are up to.

Next steps
Working to ensure sufficient malaria vaccine supply to meet potential demand
PATH applauds WHO recommendation for broader use of first malaria vaccine

Vaccine are shown to be cost-effective and trusted by caregivers and healthcare workers.

PATH welcomes commitment by Gavi board to finance wider rollout of the world’s first malaria vaccine, RTS,S

The malaria vaccine program will provide funding for vaccine procurement, technical assistance for vaccine introduction, and other activities that will enable interested countries to apply for support to introduce the vaccine.

PATH welcomes US$ 5 million grant to expand malaria vaccine access in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi

New funding can rapid increase of the impact of the malaria vaccine by reaching more children in the pilot areas of Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.