WHO Targets 2030 for Better Malaria Vaccines

The updated Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap says the world should have vaccines capable of reducing cases by 75 percent by that date.

The World Health Organization's updated 2013 Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap states that second-generation vaccines capable of reducing malaria cases by 75 percent, and ultimately of eliminating malaria, can be licensed by 2030. This is a new target on top of 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 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 WHO's 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." WHO's most recent figures show malaria causes an estimated 660,000 deaths annually from 219 million cases of illness.

While Phase III trial data for the most advanced vaccine candidate, RTS,S/AS01, will be available by 2015, it is the only one of 27 malaria vaccine candidates currently in late-stage development. The others are in clinical trials, with most in early stages of testing.

The new roadmap was launched at the annual conference of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene in Washington, D.C., and announced in a letter published in The Lancet.

The document results from a consultative process headed by WHO and is supported by a group of malaria vaccine funders that includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, the European Vaccine Initiative, the European Commission, the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Wellcome Trust.

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