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Parasitology. 2006;133 Suppl:S113-44.

High road, low road? Choices and challenges on the pathway to a malaria vaccine.

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  • Malaria Program, Naval Medical Research Center, 503 Robert Grant Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910-7500, USA. richiet@nmrc.navy.mil


Malaria causes much physical and economic hardship in endemic countries with billions of people at risk. A vaccine would clearly benefit these countries, reducing the requirement for hospital care and the economic impact of infection. Successful immunization with irradiated sporozoites and the fact that repeated exposure to malaria induces partial immunity to infection and high levels of protection against the clinical manifestations, suggest that a vaccine is feasible. Numerous candidate antigens have been identified but the vaccine, which has been promised to be 'just round the corner' for many years, remains elusive. The factors contributing to this frustratingly slow progress are discussed including gaps in the knowledge of host/parasite biology, methods to induce potent cell-mediated immune responses, the difficulties associated with defining immune correlates of protection and antigen production and delivery. Finally, the use of attenuated organism vaccines is discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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