Breakthroughs in malaria vaccines

New trial results show more clearly than ever that the opportunity to protect millions of children from malaria is within reach. In 2008, a trial supported by the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) indicated that GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals’ RTS,S—the world’s most clinically advanced malaria vaccine candidate—provides both infants and young children with significant protection, including 53 percent efficacy against clinical disease. A second trial confirmed the vaccine’s compatibility with immunization programs in the region.

With almost one million people, most younger than five years, dying from malaria each year, MVI is working hard to accelerate the most promising vaccines, including RTS,S. In addition to evaluating leading vaccine candidates, MVI weeded out several that no longer seem viable, an essential step for narrowing the pipeline of vaccine candidates.

MVI is also working to ensure that the successful vaccine can be used as soon as it is approved. Thirty countries adopted a framework developed by MVI that will help policymakers make decisions on malaria vaccine use, once approved. And MVI publicly launched its Malaria Vaccine Advocacy Fellowship program to train malaria researchers from several countries as “policy champions” who can advocate for critical support that will bring a successful vaccine directly to the children who need it.

Partners

African study centers in seven countries

GenVec, Inc.

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals

Infectious Disease Research Institute

International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology

La Trobe University

Monash University

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health

Queensland Institute of Medical Research

Sanaria Inc.

Seattle Biomedical Research Institute

US Military Malaria Vaccine Program

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Photo: Richard Lord.

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Lab worker in Kenya holding up and looking at glass slide
New research findings show that the leading malaria vaccine candidate provides significant protection against clinical disease.

This project received innovation funding at a critical point in its development.