Malaria transmission-blocking vaccines (TBVs) could help break the cycle of malaria transmission by conferring community rather than individual protection. When introducing new intervention strategies, uptake is dependent on acceptability, not just efficacy. In this exploratory study on acceptability of TBVs in Sierra Leone, it was hypothesized that TBVs would be largely acceptable to adults and health workers in areas with relatively few ongoing malaria interventions, and that (i) knowledge of malaria and vaccines, (ii) health behaviours associated with malaria and vaccines, and (iii) attitudes towards different vaccines types could lead to greater TBV acceptability.
Malaria transmission-blocking vaccines (TBVs) prevent the completion of the developmental lifecycle of malarial parasites within the mosquito vector, effectively blocking subsequent infections. The mosquito midgut protein Anopheline alanyl aminopeptidase N (AnAPN1) is the leading, mosquito-based TBV antigen. Structure-function studies identified two Class II epitopes that can induce potent transmission-blocking (T-B) antibodies, informing the design of the next-generation AnAPN1.
Transmission-blocking vaccines (TBV) prevent community spread of malaria by targeting mosquito sexual stage parasites, a life-cycle bottleneck, and will be used in elimination programs. TBV rely on herd immunity to reduce mosquito infections and thereby new infections in both vaccine recipients and non-recipients, but do not provide protection once an individual receives an infectious mosquito bite which complicates clinical development.
Plasmodium vivax is the most widespread malaria species parasitizing humans outside Africa, with approximately 100 million cases reported per year. Most human cases of P. vivax are asymptomatic with low parasitemia, making active case detection-based elimination programme challenging and less effective. Despite the widespread distribution of P. vivax, no effective vaccines are currently available. Transmission blocking vaccines have recently emerged as potential vaccine candidates to reduce transmission rates to below the essential levels required for the maintenance of the parasite life cycle.
The development of effective vaccines remains a major health priority to combat the global burden of malaria, a life-threatening disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. Transmission-blocking vaccines (TBVs) elicit antibodies that neutralize the sexual stages of the parasite in blood meals ingested by the Anopheles mosquito, interrupting parasite development in the vector host and preventing disease spread to other individuals.
The Plasmodium falciparum sexual-stage surface proteins Pfs25 and Pfs230 are antigen candidates for a malaria transmission-blocking vaccine (TBV), and have been widely investigated as such. It is not clear whether simultaneously presenting these two antigens in a particulate vaccine would enhance the transmission reducing activity (TRA) of induced antibodies. To assess this, immunization was carried out with liposomes containing synthetic lipid adjuvant monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA), and cobalt-porphyrin-phospholipid (CoPoP), which rapidly converts recombinant, his-tagged antigens into particles.