Health officials have updated the Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap, calling for the licensing of new vaccines by 2030 that show at least 75% efficacy against clinical malaria and are capable of eliminating the disease altogether, according to a press release.
"Safe, effective, affordable vaccines could play a critical role in defeating malaria," said Robert D. Newman, MD, director of WHO's global malaria program. "Despite all the recent progress countries have made, and despite important innovations in diagnostics, drugs and vector control, the global burden of malaria remains unacceptably high."
The roadmap was updated from its original version in 2006 and was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Washington, D.C. The 2013 roadmap focuses on developing safe and effective vaccines against Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax parasites.
According to WHO, there are 219 million cases of infection with malaria each year, including 660,000 deaths. There has been a 26% reduction in the global mortality rate in the past decade as a result of malaria control measures.
However, of the 27 malaria vaccine candidates being tested in clinical trials, only one — RTS,S/AS01 — is in late-stage development but will not be available until 2015.
"The new vaccines should show at least 75% efficacy against clinical malaria, be suitable for use in all malaria-endemic areas, and be licensed by 2030," said Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, MD, MPH, director of WHO's department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals. "The roadmap also sets a target for malaria vaccines that reduce transmission of the parasite."