An initiative for hope
The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative advances vaccine development and use
The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) is working to accelerate the development of malaria vaccines and to ensure access where they’re needed most. Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of people—mostly young children in sub-Saharan Africa—die every year from malaria, with the vast majority of deaths caused by Plasmodium falciparum.
Our activities include evaluating malaria vaccine approaches in order to narrow the pipeline and focus resources. We support the development of promising approaches, moving them out of the lab and into clinical trials while weeding out projects that no longer seem viable. In addition, we are working with African countries to help them prepare for timely and informed decisions on whether or not to introduce a particular malaria vaccine into their immunization programs, once one is available.
Since traditional market forces have not been strong enough to drive the development of a malaria vaccine, we provide human, financial, and technical resources that serve as an incentive for partners to get involved or stay involved in the development process. We collaborate with government, academic, and industry partners to explore multiple vaccine concepts simultaneously and to systematically move those that show promise through development. Through these partnerships, we maintain a portfolio of preclinical, early clinical, and at least one advanced clinical project.
What many once thought was impossible—developing a vaccine for human use against a parasite—now appears likely. PATH and our partners are on track to accomplish an important goal of the malaria community: to license a first-generation vaccine that cuts the number of episodes of malaria in young children by about half, with protection lasting for more than one year. A large-scale, phase 3 clinical trial of RTS,S, the most clinically advanced malaria vaccine candidate in MVI’s portfolio, is underway. If the required regulatory and public health information, including safety and efficacy data from the trial, is deemed satisfactory, the World Health Organization has indicated that a policy recommendation for RTS,S is possible as early as 2015, paving the way for implementation in countries.
We’ve also made our first investments in vaccine approaches that aim to stop the malaria parasite from developing in mosquitoes. With these projects, scientists are working toward a vaccine that could block transmission of the disease to humans.
Read more about our research and development strategy on the MVI website.
Paving the way for a vaccine
With progress in malaria vaccine development, we’re also working with countries in Africa to ensure that their decisions on whether to use a particular vaccine could be made soon after one is approved. To help policymakers with decisions on vaccine use, we’ve developed a decision-making framework that’s been endorsed by more than 30 countries. In addition, our advocacy fellowship program trains malaria researchers from several countries as “policy champions” who can bridge the gap between science and policy and thus participate effectively in debates around malaria vaccine development and use.
Banner photo: PATH/Gena Morgan.