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Birkett A.J.,PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative MVI
Vaccine | Year: 2016

Despite recent progress in reducing deaths attributable to malaria, it continues to claim approximately 500,000 lives per year and is associated with approximately 200 million infections. New tools, including safe and effective vaccines, are needed to ensure that the gains of the last 15 years are leveraged toward achieving the ultimate goal of malaria parasite eradication. In 2015, the European Medicines Agency announced the adoption of a positive opinion for the malaria vaccine candidate most advanced in development, RTS,S/AS01, which provides modest protection against clinical malaria; in early 2016, WHO recommended large-scale pilot implementations of RTS,S in settings of moderate-to-high malaria transmission. In alignment with these advancements, the community goals and preferred product characteristics for next-generation vaccines have been updated to inform the development of vaccines that are highly efficacious in preventing clinical malaria, and those needed to accelerate parasite elimination. Next-generation vaccines, targeting all stages of the parasite lifecycle, are in early-stage development with the most advanced in Phase 2 trials. Importantly, progress is being made in the definition of feasible regulatory pathways to accelerate timelines, including for vaccines designed to interrupt transmission of parasites from humans to mosquitoes. The continued absence of financially lucrative, high-income markets to drive investment in malaria vaccine development points to continued heavy reliance on public and philanthropic funding. © 2016 The Author. Source

Bingham A.,PATH Kenya | Gaspar F.,Traditional Medicine Institute | Lancaster K.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Conjera J.,M and e | And 2 more authors.
Malaria Journal | Year: 2012

Background: Malaria is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Mozambique, with nearly three-quarters of the country's malaria-related deaths occurring in children younger than five years. A malaria vaccine is not yet available, but planning is underway for a possible introduction, as soon as one becomes available. In an effort to inform the planning process, this study explored sociocultural and health communications issues among individuals at the community level who are both responsible for decisions about vaccine use and who are likely to influence decisions about vaccine use. Methods. Researchers conducted a qualitative study in two malaria-endemic districts in southern Mozambique. Using criterion-based sampling, they conducted 23 focus group discussions and 26 in-depth interviews. Implementation was guided by the engagement of community stakeholders. Results: Community members recognize that malaria contributes to high death rates and affects the workforce, school attendance, and the economy. Vaccines are seen as a means to reduce the threat of childhood illnesses and to keep children and the rest of the community healthy. Perceived constraints to accessing vaccine services include long queues, staff shortages, and a lack of resources at health care facilities. Local leaders play a significant role in motivating caregivers to have their children vaccinated. Participants generally felt that a vaccine could help to prevent malaria, although some voiced concern that the focus was only on young children and not on older children, pregnant women, and the elderly. Probed on their understanding of vaccine efficacy, participants voiced various views, including the perception that while some vaccines did not fully prevent disease they still had important benefits. Overall, it would be essential for local leaders to be involved in the design of specific messages for a future malaria vaccine communications strategy, and for those messages to be translated into local languages. Conclusions: Acceptance of routine childhood vaccines bodes well for a future malaria vaccine. Vaccinating children is a well-established routine that is viewed favourably in Mozambique. A communications strategy would need to build on existing immunization efforts and use trusted sources-including current government dissemination arrangements-to deliver health information. © 2012 Bingham et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Birkett A.J.,PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative MVI
Vaccine | Year: 2015

Despite impressive gains over the last 15 years in reducing the mortality associated with malaria, it remains a public health emergency. New interventions, such as vaccines, are needed to ensure that previous gains serve as a foundation for future progress. Vaccines have the potential to prevent severe disease and death in those most vulnerable, and to accelerate elimination and eradication by breaking the cycle of parasite transmission. The pipeline is as healthy as it has ever been, with approaches targeting different stages of the parasite lifecycle using an array of technologies. This article reviews recent progress and reviews key considerations in the quest to develop products that are aligned with the unmet medical need. © 2015 The Author. Source

Cummings J.F.,U.S. Army | Spring M.D.,U.S. Army | Schwenk R.J.,U.S. Army | Ockenhouse C.F.,U.S. Army | And 28 more authors.
Vaccine | Year: 2010

Plasmodium falciparum Liver Stage Antigen 1 (LSA-1) is a pre-erythrocytic stage antigen. Our LSA-1 vaccine candidate is a recombinant protein with full-length C- and N-terminal flanking domains and two of the 17 amino acid repeats from the central repeat region termed " LSA-NRC." We describe the first Phase I/II study of this recombinant LSA-NRC protein formulated with either the AS01 or AS02 adjuvant system. We conducted an open-label Phase I/II study. Thirty-six healthy malaria-naïve adults received one of four formulations by intra-deltoid injection on a 0 and 1 month schedule; low dose (LD) LSA-NRC/AS01:10 μg LSA-NRC/0.5. ml AS01 (n= 5), high dose (HD) LSA-NRC/AS01: 50 μg LSA-NRC/0.5. ml AS01 (n= 13); LD LSA-NRC/AS02: 10 μg LSA-NRC/0.5. ml AS02 (n= 5) and HD LSA-NRC/AS02: 50 μg LSA-NRC/0.5. ml AS02 (n= 13). Two weeks post-second immunization, the high dose vaccinees and 6 non-immunized infectivity controls underwent experimental malaria sporozoite challenge. The vaccines showed a reassuring safety profile but were moderately reactogenic. There were no serious adverse events. All subjects seroconverted after the first immunization. Following the second immunization, LSA-1-specific CD4+ T cells producing two cytokines (IL-2 and IFN-γ) were found by intra-cellular staining in all subjects in the LD LSA-NRC/AS01B group and in 3 of 5 subjects in the LD LSA-NRC/AS02 group. In contrast, the HD LSA-NRC/AS01 and HD LSA-NRC/AS02 group subjects had fewer LSA-1-specific CD4+ T cells, and minimal to no IFN-γ responses. There was no increase in LSA-1-specific CD8+ T cells found in any group. Per protocol, 22 high dose vaccinees, but no low dose vaccinees, underwent P. falciparum homologous malaria challenge (3D7 clone). All vaccinees became parasitemic and there was no delay in their pre-patent period versus controls (p= 0.95).LSA-NRC/AS01 and LSA-NRC/AS02 elicited antigen-specific antibody and CD4+ T cell responses, but elicited no protective immunity. Although the optimal antigen dose of LSA-NRC may not have been selected for the challenge portion of the protocol, further vaccine development based upon LSA-1 should not be excluded and should include alternative vaccine platforms able to elicit additional effector mechanisms such as CD8+ T cells. © 2009. Source

Olotu A.,Kenya Medical Research Institute | Moris P.,Glaxosmithkline | Mwacharo J.,Kenya Medical Research Institute | Vekemans J.,Glaxosmithkline | And 14 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Background: RTS,S/AS01 E is the lead candidate pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine. In Phase IIb field trials the safety profile was acceptable and the efficacy was 53% (95%CI 31%-72%) for protecting children against clinical malaria caused by P. falciparum. We studied CS-specific T cell responses in order to identify correlates of protection. Methods and Findings: We used intracellular cytokine staining (for IL2, IFNγ, and TNFα), ex-vivo ELISPOTs (IFNγ and IL2) and IFNγ cultured ELISPOT assays to characterize the CS-specific cellular responses in 407 children (5-17 months of age) in a phase IIb randomized controlled trial of RTS,S/AS01 E (NCT00380393). RTS,S/ AS01 E vaccinees had higher frequencies of CS-specific CD4+ T cells producing IFNγ, TNFα or IL2 compared to control vaccinees. In a multivariable analysis TNFα + CD4 + T cells were independently associated with a reduced risk for clinical malaria among RTS,S/AS01 E vaccinees (HR = 0.64, 95%CI 0.49-0.86, p = 0.002). There was a non-significant tendency towards reduced risk among control vaccinees (HR = 0.80, 95%CI 0.62-1.03, p = 0.084), albeit with lower CS-specific T cell frequencies and higher rates of clinical malaria. When data from both RTS,S/AS01 E vaccinees and control vaccinees were combined (with adjusting for vaccination group), the HR was 0.74 (95%CI 0.62-0.89, p = 0.001). After a Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons (n-18), the finding was still significant at p = 0.018. There was no significant correlation between cultured or ex vivo ELISPOT data and protection from clinical malaria. The combination of TNFα + CD4 + T cells and anti-CS antibody statistically accounted for the protective effect of vaccination in a Cox regression model. Conclusions: RTS,S/AS01 E induces CS-specific Th1 T cell responses in young children living in a malaria endemic area. The combination of anti-CS antibody concentrations titers and CS-specific TNFα + CD4 + T cells could account for the level of protection conferred by RTS,S/AS01 E. The correlation between CS-specific TNFα + CD4 + T cells and protection needs confirmation in other datasets. © 2011 Olotu et al. Source

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