Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Is There A Vaccine For Malaria

Sarna Vaccine Against Pmif

World’s first malaria vaccine approved by WHO experts in ‘breakthrough for science’ | ITV News

A patent was published in February 2021 for a self-amplifying RNA vaccine that targets the protein PMIF, which is produced by the plasmodium parasite to inhibit the body’s T-cell response. The vaccine has been tested in mice and is described as “probably the highest level of protection that has been seen in a mouse model” according to Richard Bucala, co-inventor of the vaccine. There are plans for phase one tests in humans later in 2021.

You Get Goosebumps From The Data: Hopes Rise For New Malaria Vaccine

The disease is a leading killer of under fives across Africa. But trials for a new vaccine suggest an end to the death toll could be in sight

When Annah Kadhenghi had her first child last year, she named him Brighton Ushindi Baraka: baraka meaning blessing in Swahili, ushindi meaning victory. Last month, at the age of seven months, Brighton fought his first battle against an enemy that plagues millions of the worlds poorest: malaria.

His temperature was very high he was vomiting. I took him to the hospital, says Kadhenghi, a schoolteacher in Kilifi, eastern Kenya. Brighton defeated the mosquito-borne disease, and now sits contentedly at the weigh-in clinic at Kilifi county hospital.

More than 600,000 in Africa in 2020 and about 12,500 in Kenya alone, according to the World Health Organization , were not as lucky. Across vast swathes of the continent, malaria remains a leading killer of under fives. So Kadhenghi was relieved to hear there could soon be an effective vaccine.

A lot of people are suffering in this area from malaria, she says. So I think its a very good thing.

Scientists at the Jenner Institute at Oxford University birthplace of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine are hoping Kadhenghi, and others like her, wont have to wait long. WHO has already endorsed one malaria jab for widespread use, and there should soon be a second, which those who have been working on it say is worth the wait.

‘tool For Saving Lives’

In a pre-print study with The Lancet, the research team – from Oxford, Nanoro in Burkina Faso and the US – reported the trial results of R21/Matrix-M, after testing a low and high dose of the vaccine in children, between May and August, before peak malaria season.

The vaccine showed 77% efficacy in the higher-dose group and 71% in the lower-dose group.

Halidou Tinto, professor in parasitology and the principal trial investigator at the Clinical Research Unit of Nanoro, Burkina Faso, said the results were “very exciting” and showed “unprecedented efficacy levels”.

“We look forward to the upcoming ‘phase III’ trial to demonstrate large-scale safety and efficacy data for a vaccine that is greatly needed in this region.”

In Africa, there have been more deaths from malaria than from coronavirus in the past year.

The Serum Institute of India, which has manufactured the vaccine, says it is confident of delivering more than 200 million doses of the vaccine as soon as it is approved by regulators.

Biotechnology company Novavax provided the adjuvant for the vaccine, an ingredient which is used to create a stronger immune response.

“That would be an extremely important new tool for controlling malaria and saving many lives,” he said.

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What Is The Timetable For Distribution

The pilot programmes in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi will continue. GSK says it has donated 10 million doses for the study and so far a quarter of those have been used.

The company has committed itself to providing 15 million doses a year. If the money is found then they could start being available for wider use from the end of 2022 or early 2023, Mr Breuer said.

But that number may not be enough. By the end of the decade up to 100 million doses may be needed every year, according to Ashley Birkett from Path, which helped work on the immunisation programme.

The Worlds First Malaria Vaccine And Beyond

Malaria: Next

May 6, 2022 by PATH

Ashley Birkett, PhD, head of PATHs Malaria Vaccine Initiative, talks about next steps for RTS,S and work to develop the next generation of malaria vaccines and biologics.

A nurse holds 7-month-old Beverly Wakasa while speaking to her mother, Sylvia Kadesa, about the malaria vaccine at the Malava County Hospital Child Welfare Clinic in Kakamega, Kenya. Photo: Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Ashley Birkett, PhD, leads PATHs efforts to develop and introduce safe and effective vaccines and monoclonal antibodies for the fight against malaria. Seven months since the World Health Organizations recommendation and five months since Gavis decision to help fund the introduction of RTS,S/AS01 in countries, Ashley answers questions on the worlds first malaria vaccine and how it is informing PATHs work on the next generation of vaccines and biologics.

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Choosing To Address The Symptom Or The Source

The parasite induces two main response types from the human immune system. These are anti-parasitic immunity and anti-toxic immunity.

Taking this information into consideration an ideal vaccine candidate would attempt to generate a more substantial cell-mediated and antibody response on parasite presentation. This would have the benefit of increasing the rate of parasite clearance, thus reducing the experienced symptoms and providing a level of consistent future immunity against the parasite.

Anti-host erythrocyte, antibodies blocking invasion anti receptor ligand, anti-soluble toxin
Gametocytes Anti-gametocyte. Anti-host erythrocyte, antibodies blocking fertilisation, antibodies blocking egress from the mosquito midgut.

First Malaria Vaccine A Major Milestone Despite Hurdles Ahead

When a malaria-infected mosquito plunges her needle-like mouth through human skin, she releases immature forms of the parasites, called sporozoites, into the person’s bloodstream. From there, they travel to the liver, then to red blood cells. The infected cells burst, releasing millions of daughter parasites called merozoites, which infect other red blood cells. The cycle persists until the parasites are killed — and thatâs becoming harder to do.

During the first 15 years of this century, worldwide efforts to curb malaria cut cases by 40%, and deaths fell by more than 60%. But in 2015, that progress plateaued. Since then, malaria has been quietly rising after cases had been falling steadily for over a decade.

Scientists know the parasites that cause malaria have evolved to resist drugs for as long as weâve had them. These mutations have historically popped up first in Southeast Asiaâs Greater Mekong Delta, and then spread to Africa, elsewhere in Asia, and South America from there — but this time itâs different.

In late 2019, scientists in Rwanda announced they had reason to believe F. plasmodium — by far the most common of the five malaria parasites, and the most deadly — along the countryâs northern border with Uganda was mutating to resist artemisinin, one of two partner drugs used in combination to treat malaria. Such evasion puts pressure on the other drug to eradicate the parasites by itself.

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What Is The Current Landscape For Vaccines Against Malaria

We have to start with the RTS,S vaccine. In 2021, WHO recommended widespread use of the worlds first malaria vaccine, which is also the first vaccine against a parasite in humans and the first new malaria tool recommended by WHO against malaria in about a decade.

It will be important for us to maximize the impact of RTS,Swhat were calling a first-generation vaccinebut we’re going to need more than one malaria vaccine because the market is expected to be quite large. This market would be better supported by multiple manufacturers, which is one reason we have high hopes for the R21 malaria vaccine candidate, which is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials. Based on current data, R21 seems to have similar characteristics to RTS,S.

A Malaria Vaccine: Progress And Challenges

Gravitas: WHO recommends first Malaria vaccine for children

An effective vaccine for malaria would be a huge step toward eradicating the disease, but experts advocate different approaches.

An effective vaccine for malaria would be a huge step toward eradicating the disease, but experts advocate different approaches.

Malaria is a serious health threat to a large share of the worlds population. In 2016, there were 216 million cases of the disease in 91 countries, according to estimates from the World Health Organization .

Several countries have eliminated locally transmitted malaria in recent years, using a number of tools ranging from effective drug treatment to insecticides. But these tools are widely considered inadequate to eliminate malaria from the areas where its most deadly namely sub-Saharan Africa, as well as parts of Asia.

To reduce malaria transmission with the ultimate goal of eradicating the disease, many organizations have long supported the development of potential malaria vaccines. So far, a number of different approaches have shown promise in lab experiments and limited human trials.

Here are some of the forms that such a vaccine might take and why each one may be both promising and challenging.

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How Effective Is The Malaria Vaccine

RTS,S/AS01 has resulted in a significant reduction in deadly malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum.

P. falciparum is the deadliest malaria parasite worldwide and is particularly prevalent in the African region.

Reduction in severe malaria cases in vaccinated people was even significant in areas where insecticide-treated nets are widely used and have good access to diagnosis and treatment. This suggests that the malaria vaccine provides an added advantage against P. falciparum over other malaria-preventive measures.

  • Results of the phase 3 trial of the malaria vaccine have revealed that among children who received four doses, the vaccine prevented about 4 in 10 children with malaria and 3 in 10 children with severe malaria over four years.
  • Moreover, the results suggest that the vaccine efficacy has declined over time.
  • Further studies are underway to assess the long-term efficacy of the vaccine and the need for additional dosages.

Research is being undertaken to develop better versions of the malaria vaccine that may provide higher efficacy .

Why Arent Diseases Like Hiv And Malaria Which Still Kill Millions Of People A Year Called Pandemics

No matter what malaria-prevention strategies countries select, the benefits of RTS,S will be accrued only if governments enhance the basic infrastructure of their health systems to enable effective vaccine delivery. That it takes four doses per child will create an additional layer of complexity and potentially reduce overall effectiveness. Fortunately, the ongoing pilot studies suggest that the RTSS vaccine can be readily integrated into the expanded programs of childhood immunizations , without negatively impacting other malaria interventions. These EPI programs are already widely popular in Africa and are among the most cost-effective.

Other than the governments of countries in which malaria is endemic, major financers of malaria control today include The Global Fund, created in 2002, and the U.S. Presidents Malaria Initiative, created in 2005. Most of the funding may have already been earmarked for existing tools, so the introduction of RTS,S is expected to initiate in-depth negotiations for either additional fundraising or reprograming of available budgets.

The Global Vaccine Alliance , which has been an extraordinary champion of childhood vaccination and most recently Covid-19 vaccination in low-income countries will also likely play a crucial role in negotiating the financing, procurement, and delivery of RTS,S.

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Mix Of Antigenic Components

Increasing the potential immunity generated against Plasmodia can be achieved by attempting to target multiple phases in the life cycle. This is additionally beneficial in reducing the possibility of resistant parasites developing. The use of multiple-parasite antigens can therefore have a synergistic or additive effect.

One of the most successful vaccine candidates in clinical trials consists of recombinant antigenic proteins to the circumsporozoite protein.

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The selection of an appropriate system is fundamental in all vaccine development, but especially so in the case of malaria. A vaccine targeting several antigens may require delivery to different areas and by different means in order to elicit an effective response. Some adjuvants can direct the vaccine to the specifically targeted cell typeâe.g., the use of Hepatitis B virus in the RTS,S vaccine to target infected hepatocytesâbut in other cases, particularly when using combined antigenic vaccines, this approach is very complex. Some methods that have been attempted include the use of two vaccines, one directed at generating a blood response and the other a liver-stage response. These two vaccines could then be injected into two different sites, thus enabling the use of a more specific and potentially efficacious delivery system.

The Plasmodium Life Cycle

New malaria vaccine developed by British scientists proves highly effective

Malaria is unlike any infectious disease for which we have already created a successful vaccine. Most notable of these differences is that malaria is transmitted via a parasite that passes through multiple life stages, each of which presents a unique challenge to vaccine developers. The three stages in the Plasmodium life cycle can be divided into two distinct categories in the first two, the parasite undergoes asexual reproduction in the hosts body, and in the third, it undergoes sexual reproduction in the mosquito vector gut. Because the parasite can reproduce both asexually and sexually, it has many advantages over the viruses and bacteria that we currently vaccinate against.

The three stages of the Plasmodium life cycle are the pre-erythrocytic stage, better known as the liver stage, or the stage before the parasite infects human red blood cells, the erythrocytic stage, or the blood stage when the parasite infects the red blood cells, and the sexual stage, the stage when a mosquito has taken up the parasite, and the parasite is sexually reproducing in the mosquito gut.

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How Much Will It Cost And Who Will Pay

The vaccine has been developed by the pharmaceutical giant GSK which has pledged to supply the doses at the manufacturing cost plus 5%, but has not specified the price.

When it comes to buying them it is now up to countries and donors to find the money.

“The international funding community has to now discuss and then decide how to procure the vaccine,” GSK’s chief global health officer Thomas Breuer told the BBC.

Rose Jalang’o, who has been helping to co-ordinate the pilot programme in Kenya, said the authorities were waiting for global guidance on how the vaccine will be financed as part of the national immunisation programme.

Currently in Kenya, most of the funding for vaccinations comes from donors such as the global vaccine alliance Gavi and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

A New Model For Vaccine Development

However, there was another obstacle to overcome. Unlike other major infectious killers that vaccines have successfully been developed against, malaria is primarily a disease of the Global South. This means the typical model of spreading the risks and recuperating the costs of vaccine R& D by charging wealthier countries more for a vaccine once it is finally approved wouldnt work. A whole new model for vaccine development had to be developed one that involved external partners, such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, WHO and the nonprofit global health organisation PATH, from the outset.

It was about having a joint, integrated end-to-end plan, aligned across key partners, from very early on, so that we could look together for the best solutions, said An Vermeersch, vice president, head of vaccines global health access at GSK Vaccines. I think the level of collaboration we had on this was unique.

She added that a similar model might be applied to the development of vaccines against other diseases in the future. There are a lot of lessons about the need for early alignment with critical partners, not only on the clinical plan , but on the registration and manufacturing phases, and looking for funding solutions all of those elements. It is clear that it needs to be done together, Vermeersch said.

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The Leading Vaccine Candidate: Rtss

Immunological analysis has demonstrated the remarkable ability of this vaccine to induce a very high concentration of antibodies, often of hundreds of micrograms per millilitre, that target the conserved central repeat region of the circumsporozoite protein and in several, but not all, settings the level of these antibodies correlates with protection against infection or disease . In contrast, T cell immunogenity is modest and suggestions that these low-level responses might also contribute to protection have, at least thus far, been unconvincing .

The level of efficacy achieved by RTS,S in challenge studies was a clear breakthrough for the field and has yet to be exceeded by any sub-unit vaccine candidate. RTS,S has progressed through a series of phase I and II clinical trials in several African countries, involving age de-escalation from adults to infants and various efficacy assessments. These provide clear evidence that in many different epidemiological settings, RTS,S can reduce the rate of acquisition of clinical malaria by 3050% . The endpoint most widely accepted as a semi-standardized efficacy measure is the reduction in clinical cases of malaria during the first 12 months of follow-up, a measure alluded to in the Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap. By this measure, the only published results with the current AS01 adjuvant formulation is an efficacy of 39 per cent in East African children , a higher level than that observed previously with AS02.

How Effective And Safe Is It

WHO recommends 1st malaria vaccine

The vaccine was proven effective six years ago, preventing 40% of malaria cases and 30% of severe cases.

Since 2019, researchers have been carrying out wider pilot immunisation programmes in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

More than 800,000 children have received at least one dose and the WHO says there are no safety concerns.

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