Impact and cost-effectiveness of measles vaccination through microarray patches in 70 low-income and middle-income countries: mathematical modelling and early-stage economic evaluation

BMJ Global Health
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Background: Microarray patches (MAPs) are a promising technology being developed to reduce barriers to vaccine delivery based on needles and syringes (N&S). To address the evidence gap on the public health value of applying this potential technology to immunisation programmes, we evaluated the health impact on measles burden and cost-effectiveness of introducing measles-rubella MAPs (MR-MAPs) in 70 low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Methods: We used an age-structured dynamic model of measles transmission and vaccination to project measles cases, deaths and disability-adjusted life-years during 2030–2040. Compared with the baseline scenarios with continuing current N&S-based practice, we evaluated the introduction of MR-MAPs under different measles vaccine coverage projections and MR-MAP introduction strategies. Costs were calculated based on the ingredients approach, including direct cost of measles treatment, vaccine procurement and vaccine delivery. Model-based burden and cost estimates were derived for individual countries and country income groups. We compared the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of introducing MR-MAPs to health opportunity costs.

Results: MR-MAP introduction could prevent 27%–37% of measles burden between 2030 and 2040 in 70 LMICs, compared with the N&S-only immunisation strategy. The largest health impact could be achieved under lower coverage projection and accelerated introduction strategy, with 39 million measles cases averted. Measles treatment cost is a key driver of the net cost of introduction. In countries with a relatively higher income, introducing MR-MAPs could be a cost-saving intervention due to reduced treatment costs. Compared with country-specific health opportunity costs, introducing MR-MAPs would be cost-effective in 16%–81% of LMICs, depending on the MR-MAPs procurement prices and vaccine coverage projections.

Conclusions: Introducing MR-MAPs in LMICs can be a cost-effective strategy to revitalise measles immunisation programmes with stagnant uptake and reach undervaccinated children. Sustainable introduction and uptake of MR-MAPs has the potential to improve vaccine equity within and between countries and accelerate progress towards measles elimination.

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