Officials from the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, the
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Sabin Vaccine Institute
today announced a new collaboration between the three organizations designed to
further research and development of a malaria vaccine.
This new collaboration will focus on
transmission-blocking vaccines, which aim to stop the malaria parasite from
developing in the mosquito. Researchers say if this is successful, it would,
therefore, block the transmission of malaria from mosquitoes to humans.
Officials at the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative said this could be an
important step toward the ultimate goal: the elimination and eradication of
"Although eradication is a very long-term and
aspirational goal, we are excited by the potential of transmission-blocking
vaccines to significantly limit the spread of malaria infection," Christian Loucq, MD, director of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative,
said in a press release. "In combination with other interventions, we
believe a successful transmission-blocking vaccine would provide another
important tool in the fight against malaria."
Experts said the focus on transmission-blocking vaccines
represents a broader approach to malaria vaccine development. "The
heart-breaking devastation caused by malaria cannot be overstated,"
Peter Agre, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute
and a Nobel laureate in Chemistry, said in a press release. "Blocking
transmission by novel vaccines may provide the approach needed to stop the
epidemic. [The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative] deserves great credit for
supporting potentially exciting research that would otherwise be abandoned due
to lack of precedent."