Arama, Charles., Troye-Blomberg, Marita. (2014) The path of malaria vaccine development: challenges and perspectives, DOI: 10.1111/joim.12223


The path of malaria vaccine development: challenges and perspectives



Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites of the Plasmodium genus. In many parts of the world, the parasites have developed resistance to a number of anti-malarial agents. Key interventions to control malaria include prompt and effective treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies, use of insecticidal nets by individuals at risk and active research into malaria vaccines. Protection against malaria through vaccination was demonstrated more than 30 years ago when individuals were vaccinated via repeated bites by Plasmodium falciparum-infected and irradiated but still metabolically active mosquitoes. However, vaccination with high doses of irradiated sporozoites injected into humans has long been considered impractical. Yet, following recent success using whole-organism vaccines, the approach has received renewed interest; it was recently reported that repeated injections of irradiated sporozoites increased protection in 80 vaccinated individuals. Other approaches include subunit malaria vaccines, such as the current leading candidate RTS,S (consisting of fusion between a portion of the P. falciparum-derived circumsporozoite protein and the hepatitis B surface antigen), which has been demonstrated to induce reasonably good protection. Although results have been encouraging, the level of protection is generally considered to be too low to achieve eradication of malaria. There is great interest in developing new and better formulations and stable delivery systems to improve immunogenicity. In this review we will discuss recent strategies to develop efficient malaria vaccines.

Keywords: Adjuvants; Malaria; vaccine delivery systems; vaccines