R21 Malaria

R21 Malaria Investigational Vaccine

Malaria Vaccine Details
Therapeutic area
Infectious disease
Parasitic diseases
Matrix-M™ adjuvant
Therapeutic area
Parasitic diseases
Infectious disease
Matrix-M™ adjuvant

About the candidate

R21* is a protein-based investigational vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, using our Matrix-M™ adjuvant technology.1 This investigational vaccine is specifically designed to help protect against malaria. 

On October 2, 2023, this vaccine received a WHO recommendation to prevent malaria in children following advice from its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) and Malaria Policy Advisory Group (MPAG).

Why it matters

Malaria remains a significant global burden of disease,2 infecting 247 million people worldwide in 2021 alone, with an estimated 619, 000 deaths. Developing additional malaria vaccines is urgently needed to address this threat.1 

R21 has been evaluated in safety and efficacy trials in both adults and children.1

*Investigational vaccine created and trial sponsored by University of Oxford in collaboration with Serum Institute of India, with Matrix-M adjuvant.

Malaria (R21) Investigational Vaccine Design

Genetic material is combined

CSP gene is combined with the HBsAg protein gene to form a CSP-HBsAg recombinant DNA.

Malaria sporozoite. CSP gene. HBsAg protein gene. CSP-HBsAg fusion gene. CSP protein.
Entry through electroporation

The recombinant DNA is inserted into a plasmid and the genetic material enters the yeast cell.

Entry through electroporation. DNA. Yeast cell (P. pastoris).
Stable recombination gene enters yeast cell nucleus

The gene of interest is also inserted into the yeast genome to make a stable cell line.

Stable recombination gene enters yeast cell nucleus. DNA. Nucleus. mRNA.
Yeast cell expresses fusion proteins

Lysis buffer is used to break down yeast cell membranes and release proteins.

Yeast cell expresses fusion proteins. mRNA. Translation and maturation. CSP-HBsAg fusion protein.
Vaccine virus-like particle formation

Fusion proteins self-assemble into virus-like particles. Fusion proteins are purified based on their size and density.

Vaccine virus-like particle formation.
Final vaccine

R21 Virus-like particles are mixed with Matrix-MTM adjuvant to create ready-to-use Malaria vaccine.

Matrix-M adjuvant. R21 Virus-like particle.

Malaria (R21) investigational vaccine design. Pre-erythrocytic stage

Authorized in Ghana, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso; Commercialized by Serum Institute of India and granted prequalification by the WHO.

  1. Datoo MS, Natama HM, Somé A, et al. Efficacy and immunogenicity of R21/Matrix-M vaccine against clinical malaria after 2 years’ follow-up in children in Burkina Faso: a phase 1/2b randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2022;0(0). doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(22)00442-X
  2. World malaria report 2022. Published 2022. https://www.who.int/teams/global-malaria-programme/reports/world-malaria-report-2022