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Concept and ObjectivesMalaria is a devastating disease that kills a child every 30 seconds. Approximately 10% of the world population is currently infected by Malaria, with an estimated annual mortality of 1 million individuals in endemic regions such as sub-Saharan Africa. Among the worst affected are children under the age of 5 years, in which the disease comprises several syndromes such as acute respiratory disease, severe anemia or cerebral malaria. Malaria qualifies for the highest priority disease in the area of tropical medicine.
An effective vaccine is widely regarded as an essential tool for sustainable malaria control. To date, only the irradiated sporozoite vaccine (PfRAS) has been shown to induce complete sterilising immunity, but numerous practical issues make it unlikely that this vaccine could be licensed for wide-scale human use.
By using novel pre-erythrocytic antigens expressed by the protection-inducing attenuated parasites with potent adjuvant prototypes, MalVa GmbH presents a novel strategy for the prevention of Malaria in addition to alleviation of severe Malarial disease.
In an attempt to identify proteins involved in the pre-erythrocytic stage of attenuated parasites, MalVa GmbH has developed an innovative strategy based on differential expression analysis, which has resulted in the description of several antigen candidates (patented). Our studies in the rodent model and in Malaria-exposed humans indicate that immune responses against these antigens are developed through experimental vaccination and natural exposure, respectively.
Furthermore, a potent adjuvant/delivery system is a major focus for the development of a successful subunit vaccine. MalVa GmbH and its partners are currently evaluating delivery- and adjuvant systems suitable for Malaria vaccination success.