R21 Vaccine is Cost-Effective Compared to Popular Malaria Preventions

A new analysis by 1Day Africa finds that the R21 malaria vaccine could rank as one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent malaria— but many doses will go unused under current plans 

Lusaka, Zambia–July 1, 2024–The new R21 malaria vaccine could be one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to prevent malaria, according to a recently released analysis from 1Day Africa, the African chapter of U.S. public health nonprofit 1Day Sooner. An R21 vaccination campaign could “buy” a year of healthy life for an average of less than US$40.

1Day Africa reviewed existing studies on the cost-effectiveness of eight methods to combat malaria, including insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs), seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), and mosquito control. The results showed that the most economical ways to prevent malaria sickness in Africa are bed nets, followed very closely by the R21 vaccine.  Read “How Cost-Effective is the New R21 Vaccine Compared to Existing Malaria Interventions” for more information and to view the full dataset used for the report.

The analysis adds a new dimension to ongoing debates about the rollout of the new vaccine. At $3.90/dose (R21) vs. ~$10.90/dose (RTS,S) and with similar efficacy to the RTS,S vaccine, R21 represents a more affordable and practical option for widespread immunization in African nations. R21 is much easier and cheaper to produce than the other malaria vaccine, called RTS,S, but only a fraction of the hundreds of millions of R21 doses that can be produced in the next two years have been ordered.

“We are confident that available research indicates the R21 malaria vaccine is competitive with the best-available malaria intervention methods,” said Zacharia Kafuko, director at 1Day Africa. “A global push to fund and deliver this vaccine more quickly than existing rollout plans currently underway can help save hundreds of thousands of children’s lives over the next few years.” 

For an even more detailed look into the development and rollout of the two malaria vaccines, see 1Day Africa’s latest Status Report.

About 1Day Sooner

1Day Sooner, a U.S.-based nonprofit, is dedicated to accelerating the development and deployment of life-saving medical research and policy interventions. 1Day Africa, as its African chapter, is committed to advancing the continent’s capabilities in local medical research and healthcare delivery, particularly in the context of infectious diseases. For more information, visit www.1daysooner.org or follow them on LinkedIn and X


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Jake Eberts