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First malaria vaccine rolled out in Africa - despite limited efficacy and nagging safety concerns

November 28, 2019 - 13:29 -- Malaria World

Science, Nov. 26, 2019: by Jop de Vrieze

MALAWI—In a small room at the Phalula Health Centre in southern Malawi's Balaka district, two young mothers are sitting on a wooden bench, each with a 5-month-old baby on their lap. Across from them, behind a desk, sits Alfred Kaponya, a community health worker. A colleague is busy preparing a vaccine, tapping the syringe to dislodge bubbles. Kaponya explains the procedure to the women, writes down the vaccines' serial numbers in the children's vaccination booklets, and copies them onto a spreadsheet in his binder.

The Pfs230 N-terminal fragment, Pfs230D1+: expression and characterization of a potential malaria transmission-blocking vaccine candidate

November 11, 2019 - 16:13 -- Open Access
Shwu-Maan Lee, Yimin Wu, John M. Hickey, Kazutoyo Miura, Neal Whitaker, Sangeeta B. Joshi, David B. Volkin, C. Richter King and Jordan Plieskatt
Malaria Journal 2019 18:356, 8 November 2019

Control and elimination of malaria can be accelerated by transmission-blocking interventions such as vaccines. A surface antigen of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes, Pfs230, is a leading vaccine target antigen, and has recently progressed to experimental clinical trials. To support vaccine product development, an N-terminal Pfs230 antigen was designed to increase yield, as well as to improve antigen quality, integrity, and homogeneity.

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A Viral-Vectored Multi-Stage Malaria Vaccine Regimen With Protective and Transmission-Blocking Efficacies

November 7, 2019 - 21:56 -- Open Access
Yusuf Y, Yoshii T, Iyori M, Mizukami H, Fukumoto S, Yamamoto DS, Emran TB, Amelia F, Islam A, Syafira I, Yoshida S
Front Immunol. 2019 Oct 15;10:2412 (eCollection 2019)

Malaria parasites undergo several stages in their complex lifecycle. To achieve reductions in both the individual disease burden and malaria transmission within communities, a multi-stage malaria vaccine with high effectiveness and durability is a more efficacious strategy compared with a single-stage vaccine.

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Harmonization study between three laboratories for expression of malaria vaccine clinical trial IgG antibody ELISA data in µg/mL

September 14, 2019 - 15:20 -- Open Access
Geneviève M. Labbé, Kazutoyo Miura, Simon J. Draper, et al.
Malaria Journal 2019 18:300, 2 September 2019

The ability to report vaccine-induced IgG responses in terms of µg/mL, as opposed arbitrary units (AU), enables a more informed interpretation of the magnitude of the immune response, and better comparison between vaccines targeting different antigens. However, these interpretations rely on the accuracy of the methodology, which is used to generate ELISA data in µg/mL. In a previous clinical trial of a vaccine targeting the apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) from Plasmodium falciparum, three laboratories (Oxford, NIH and WRAIR) reported ELISA data in µg/mL that were correlated but not concordant. This current study sought to harmonize the methodology used to generate a conversion factor (CF) for ELISA analysis of human anti-AMA1 IgG responses across the three laboratories.

Superbug: an emerging and quickly spreading threat to the race against malaria

February 17, 2017 - 09:46 -- Salomé Beaujouan

While the malaria death count in Cambodia dropped to just one case in 2016, a new threat to the race against the disease arises in south-eastern Asia: superbugs. A superbug is a drug-resistant, human-killing parasite that modern medicine struggles to combat.

Not Open Access | The rodent malaria lactate dehydrogenase assay provides a high throughput solution for in vivo vaccine studies

May 23, 2015 - 10:52 -- NOT Open Access
Hitoshi Otsuki, Yuki Yokouchi, Natsumi Iyoku, Mayumi Tachibana, Takafumi Tsuboi, Motomi Torii
Parasitology International, Volume 64, Issue 4, August 2015, Pages 60-63

Here, we showed that the pLDH assay is reliable and accurately determines parasitemia in the rodent malaria model. pLDH activity measured using a chromogenic substrate reflects the parasite number in the blood; it allows fast and easy assessment using a conventional microplate reader.

Not Open Access | The evolution and diversity of a low complexity vaccine candidate, merozoite surface protein 9 (MSP-9), in Plasmodium vivax and closely related species

October 16, 2013 - 18:46 -- NOT Open Access
Stella M. Chenet, M. Andreína Pacheco, David J. Bacon, William E. Collins, John W. Barnwell, Ananias A. Escalante
Infection, Genetics and Evolution, Volume 20, December 2013, Pages 239-248

Our findings suggest that the gene encoding MSP-9 is under purifying selection in P. vivax and closely related species.

Cinderella science

December 1, 2012 - 14:43 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The guest blog below was contributed by Prof. Matt Thomas, of Penn State University. Read more about Professor Thomas here.

Everybody would like to see the burden of malaria reduced and while there might be some disciplinary biases, most would agree that long-term sustainable management of malaria requires integrated strategies built on solid foundations of local knowledge and capacity. 
Of the broad approaches available (and by available I include potential tools somewhere along the development pipeline), vector control is clearly pivotal. This is not to diminish the importance of other technologies, such as drugs or diagnostics, but much of the recent decline in malaria can be attributed to wide-scale implementation of vector control tools such as long lasting insecticide treated bed nets (LLINs) and indoor residual insecticide sprays (IRS). Furthermore, in nearly every historical case where malaria has been substantially reduced or locally eliminated, vector control has been key. 

Human vaccine research in the European Union

November 26, 2009 - 07:35 -- Kabogo Ndegwa
Ole F. Olesen, Anna Lonnroth, Bernard Mulligan
Vaccine, Volume 27, Issue 5, 29 January 2009, Pages 640-645, doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.11.064

Taken together, around 581 research groups from 52 countries are participating in the vaccine activities of FP6. This impressive number signals a new spirit of collaborative research, which will facilitate the exploitation of the immense possibilities in modern vaccinology.


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