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The path to an effective malaria vaccine

Burnet Institute

10 January, 2019

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Burnet Institute scientists have outlined the challenges and priorities required for the development of the next generation of malaria vaccines in a review published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine, and expanded their thoughts in a Q&A in helio.com.

The researchers, led by Burnet Deputy Director and Head of Malaria Research, Professor James Beeson, focus on the need for greater knowledge of mechanisms and key targets for immunity, together with new strategies for generating potent, long lasting immunity against multiple antigens.

In the review, they also address the need for simplified and enhanced vaccine delivery, which can be problematic in areas where malaria is endemic.

“Achieving higher efficacy may require vaccines to induce multiple functional mechanisms, and the inclusion of multiple antigens, whole attenuated parasites, or innovative vaccine design to induce responses that better target specific protective epitopes compared to established strategies,” the authors write.

Malaria is responsible for more than 200 million clinical cases globally, and up to 500,000 deaths annually, but the creation of a vaccine with sustained high efficacy has proved challenging.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a strategic goal of developing malaria vaccines with more than 75 percent against clinical malaria and suitable for use in all malaria endemic areas by 2030.

“Ideally, future vaccines will be low cost and affordable and administered in practical formulations and regimens suitable for mass vaccine campaigns and inclusion in childhood immunisation programs,” the authors write.

“Although challenges remain, recent exciting progress and emerging knowledge promise great hope for the future.”

Read the commentary ‘Challenges and strategies for developing efficacious and long-lasting malaria vaccines’, and helio.com Q&A with Professor Beeson and co-author Dr Michelle Boyle.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor James Beeson

Deputy Director (People); Head of Malaria Research: Immunity, Vaccines and New Therapies Laboratory; Adjunct Professor Monash University

Telephone

+61385062442

Email

james.beeson@burnet.edu.au

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