Malaria vaccine development is aimed at preventing
malaria infection by helping the body develop immunity
against the malaria parasite.
Scientists who are developing new
malaria vaccines have several challenges to overcome, such as:
Finding a vaccine is vital to decreasing the illness and
death caused by malaria infection. More study is needed before people can rely
on vaccines to protect them from malaria infection. Until a more effective
vaccine is available, avoiding mosquito bites and using medicines are the only
ways to prevent malaria infection. (For more information, see the Prevention
and Medications sections of the topic Malaria.)
Blood-stage vaccines prevent or
contain the malaria infection by limiting the growth of the malaria parasite in
the bloodstream. Some vaccines are showing promise in clinical trials.1, 2, 3 But no blood-stage vaccine that can
prevent malaria is available to the public yet.
are being tested that prevent the spread of malaria.4
The vaccine works by preventing the malaria parasites from developing inside a
mosquito. So a mosquito that bites a person infected with malaria cannot pass
the infection on to another person. The vaccine does not prevent or treat
malaria in a person already infected.
CitationsBejon P, et al. (2008). Efficacy of RTS,S/AS01E
vaccine against malaria in children 5 to 17 months of age. New England Journal of Medicine, 359(24): 2521–2532.Abdulla S, et al. (2008). Safety and immunogenicity of
RTS,S/AS02D malaria vaccine in infants. New England Journal of Medicine, 359(24): 2533–2544.Roestenberg M, et al. (2009). Protection against a malaria challenge
by sporozoite inoculation. New England Journal of Medicine, 361(5): 468–477.Kubler-Kielb J et al. (2007). Long-lasting and
transmission-blocking activity of antibodies to Plasmodium falciparum elicited in mice by protein conjugates of Pfs25.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(1): 293–298.
April 20, 2011
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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