In the field of malaria vaccines, there are many barriers to moving lead candidates from the bench into developmental programmes before clinical testing. Many of the same challenges are to be found in the field of vaccines for other infectious diseases. Here, we briefly outline the process of pre-clinical development to help identify ways to support the translation of laboratory-based information into viable vaccine candidates.
In this review previous studies in rodents and primates of whole killed and attenuated blood stage vaccines, and recent work on the effect of genetically attenuated parasites on immunity in rodent models of blood stage immunity are discussed. The relationship between these findings and what is now known about protective immunity in human populations, specifically against the blood stages of the parasite lifecycle is discussed and recent findings from human experimental infection are be reviewed.
Despite its small population and isolate location Papua New Guinea (PNG) with a malaria burden comparable to sub-Saharan Africa, its intense transmission of all 4 human Plasmodium species and an unrivalled combination of environmental and human variation offers unique perspectives on malaria vaccines.