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J Vector Borne Dis. 2008 Mar;45(1):1-20.

Malaria vaccine: a current perspective.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India.


The observation that inactivated Plasmodium sporozoites could protect against malaria is about a hundred years old. However, systematic demonstration of protection using irradiated sporozoites occurred in the nineteen-sixties, providing the impetus for the development of a malaria vaccine. In 1983, the circumsporozoite protein (CSP), a major sporozoite surface antigen, became the first Plasmodium gene to be cloned, and a CSP-based vaccine appeared imminent. Today, 25 years later, we are still without an effective malaria vaccine, despite considerable information regarding the genomics and proteomics of the malaria parasites. Although clinical immunity to malaria has been well-documented in adults living in malaria endemic areas, our understanding of the host-immune responses operating in such malaria immune persons remains poor, and limits the development of immune control of the disease. Currently, several antigen and adjuvant combinations have entered clinical trials, in which efficacy against experimental sporozoite challenge and/or exposure to natural infection is evaluated. This review collates information on the recent status of the field. Unresolved challenges facing the development of a malaria vaccine are also discussed.

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