Why SoGive is not updating charity ratings after malaria vaccine news

post by Sanjay · 2021-04-23T20:39:46.897Z · EA · GW · 2 comments

[Cross-posted from SoGive's blog.]

Today, the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford announced that their malaria vaccine had achieved the WHO goal of 75% efficacy.

This could potentially save huge numbers of lives and is an exciting development.

Currently, SoGive’s top charities include charities which tackle malaria, for example the Against Malaria Foundation.

It is reasonable to wonder whether this sort of announcement might render activities such as distributing malaria nets redundant. All the more so since funds sent to one of these charities would not typically be deployed immediately, and may need several months or even more than a year before they turn into actual malaria nets on the ground.

We have not decided to downgrade or adjust our rankings on these charities in light of this news, although we will continue to monitor the situation.

Our reason for this is that we believe it would be too early to update our ratings:

Furthermore, we believe it is as yet unclear whether the vaccine will even be the most cost-effective solution:

We do not believe that donations being made today to SoGive’s recommended malaria charities should be considered any less effective in light of the vaccine news. 

2 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by AlasdairGives · 2021-04-25T08:28:18.497Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Good post Sanjay, though I think a better title would be "Why SoGive is not yet  updating charity ratings after malaria vaccine news" though. 

 I don't disagree with any of the points you've made - and there are certainly large uncertainties around this, but  there is at least a significant possibility that when some uncertainties are resolved this could  displace nets in terms of cost-effectiveness.  So its certainly a very promising development and even if we don't change our immediate funding priorities, we need to think about how they might change in the future.

comment by Ulrik Horn · 2021-04-30T11:25:43.298Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Excellent! I am wondering a bit more about the timelines though, the article mentions the lag from donation to bed nets distributed. Let us call this period T_a. Then there is the expected duration of the bed nets. I think this is about 2 years, so does this mean that AMF is still as effective as long as the time to meaningful roll-out of a vaccine < 2 + T_a? And is my duration of 2 years the right duration? I am getting it from row 30 in GiveWell's cost effectiveness sheet.