Dutch government pledges €17 Mio to EVI to advance malaria vaccines for pregnant women and children
20 December 2022
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency -Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO)- just awarded €17 million to European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) towards the clinical development of placental malaria vaccines. This is part of the Product Development Partnerships IV Fund (PDP IV) which targets diseases and conditions related to poverty and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The main target group is women and girls between the reproductive ages of 15 to 49 in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs).
Young children and pregnant women are among the most vulnerable to the burden of malaria, with children under five accounting for 80% of all malaria deaths in Africa. Malaria infection during pregnancy constitutes a particularly severe health problem that can lead to the development of Placental Malaria (PM). PM is responsible for substantial infant mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, while also causing women´s death in pregnancy and other adverse pregnancy outcomes, including anaemia and hypertension in first-time pregnant women.
EVI’s malaria programme plans to advance the comparison and clinical testing of several leading vaccine candidates that can protect unborn babies against placental malaria and pregnant women against malaria during pregnancy. During a five year period, several promising vaccine candidates will undergo efficacy testing, with the ultimate aim of developing an effective PM vaccine that can reduce the mother and newborn mortality and morbidity from PM.
As an intrinsic part of the vaccine development, EVI will also strengthen the capacity of infrastructure and personnel at partner institutions in sub-Saharan Africa to undertake clinical research in vulnerable populations. Together with its collaborators in sub-Saharan Africa, EVI will undertake targeted advocacy efforts to inform public health authorities as well as key stakeholders about the benefits of PM vaccines, and thereby pave the way for their future introduction in the health care systems in endemic LMIC.
“EVI is extremely grateful for the generous support to this critical project” said Dr. Ole Olesen, Executive Director of EVI. “With this pledge, the Dutch government demonstrates its commitment to global health and its solidarity with some of the most vulnerable people on our planet, namely pregnant women and infants in malaria-affected countries”
This is a unique opportunity that will enable EVI to consolidate its long-term commitment to combatting placental malaria. This is a cornerstone of EVI’s mission of developing of new, safe, effective, and affordable vaccines against infectious diseases that disproportionately affect LMICs, diseases -and target groups- for which no commercial vaccines are being developed or available.