The world should aim to have vaccines which
reduce malaria cases by 75%, and are capable of eliminating malaria, licensed
by 2030, according to the updated 2013 Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap,
launched today. This new target comes in addition to the original 2006
Roadmap's goal of having a licensed vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum
malaria, the most deadly form of the disease, for children under 5 years of age
in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015.
"Safe, effective, affordable vaccines
could play a critical role in defeating malaria," said Dr Robert D.
Newman, Director of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Global Malaria
Programme. "Despite all the recent progress countries have made, and
despite important innovations in diagnostics, drugs and vector control, the
global burden of malaria remains unacceptably high."
The most recent figures by WHO indicate
that malaria causes an estimated 660 000 deaths each year from 219 million
cases of illness. Scale-up of WHO recommended malaria control measures has been
associated with a 26% reduction in the global malaria death rate over the last
decade. Effective malaria vaccines could be an important complement to existing
measures, if they can be successfully developed.
Final results from Phase III trials of the
most advanced vaccine candidate, RTS,S/AS01, will be available by 2015.
Depending on the final trial results, and depending on the outcome of the
regulatory review by the European Medicines Agency, a WHO recommendation for
use and subsequent prequalification of this first vaccine could occur in late
The new roadmap, launched today at the
annual conference of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene in
Washington, DC and also announced in a letter published in The Lancet, aims to
identify where additional funding and activities will be particularly key in
developing second generation malaria vaccines both for protection against
malaria disease and for malaria elimination. These include next-generation
vaccines that target both Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax species of
"The new vaccines should show at least
75% efficacy against clinical malaria, be suitable for use in in all
malaria-endemic areas, and be licensed by 2030," says Dr Jean-Marie Okwo
Bele, Director of WHO's Department of Immunisation, Vaccines and Biologicals.
"The roadmap also sets a target for malaria vaccines that reduce
transmission of the parasite."
Reasons for update
The 2013 Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap
cites several reasons for the update, among them changing malaria epidemiology
associated with the successful scale-up of malaria control measures in the last
decade, a renewed focus on malaria elimination and eradication in addition to
the ongoing need to sustain malaria control activities, and new technological
innovations since 2006 including promising early work on so-called
transmission-blocking malaria vaccines.
WHO lists 27 malaria vaccine candidates
currently in clinical trials, with most in early stages of testing; RTS,S/AS01
is the only one currently in late-stage development.
The roadmap's vision centres on developing
safe and effective vaccines against Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax
that prevent disease and death and prevent transmission to enable malaria
eradication, and is built around two strategic goals:
•Development of malaria vaccines with
protective efficacy of at least 75% against clinical malaria suitable for
administration to appropriate at-risk groups in malaria-endemic areas.
•Development of malaria vaccines that
reduce transmission of the parasite and thereby substantially reduce the
incidence of human malaria infection. This will enable elimination in multiple
settings. Vaccines to reduce transmission should be suitable for administration
in mass campaigns.