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World Malaria Day 2018: Call for further stepping up investments

Heidelberg, 25 April 2018

European Vaccine Initiative reports positive clinical trial results for two malaria vaccines and calls for further increase in investments into malaria research and development On occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Word Malaria Day, the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) announces that two of the malaria vaccine candidates whose development it supports have made important progress in their clinical development. At the same time, EVI highlights the urgent need to step up investments in malaria research and development (R&D). Regarding the global malaria disease burden, Dr. Odile Leroy, EVI´s Executive Director, points out that “the decline of malaria cases worldwide that was seen during the last decade has stopped in 2016, with five million more cases than in 2015. Although compared to the situation back in 2008 -when the first World Malaria Day was celebrated- major progress has been made in global malaria control, unfortunately the progress has stalled more recently.” Vaccines are amongst the most cost-effective tools for prevention and control of many diseases. Hence, despite the fact that the development of a vaccine for the Plasmodium parasite that causes malaria has proved difficult, the development of an efficacious and durable vaccine to prevent malaria remains a top priority for global health researchers. Results from a recent phase Ib clinical trial of an EVI-supported vaccine invented at Osaka University, Japan, -BK-SE36, based on an antigen from the blood-stage phase of the Plasmodium parasite-, indicate that the vaccine is safe, well tolerated and immunogenic in African children aged 1 to 5 years old. On the other hand, also the development of the placental malaria vaccine PRIMVAC invented at Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm), France, and supported by EVI successfully advanced its clinical development. In the context of a phase Ia/b clinical trial that took place in France and Burkina Faso, sixty-eight subjects were recruited and received three vaccinations with either the vaccine candidate or a placebo. Preliminary safety and immunogenicity results -presented during a recent conference in Senegal- indicate that the PRIMVAC vaccine is safe, well tolerated and immunogenic in women. Dr. Leroy remarks that “these results are really encouraging, EVI is aiming to mobilise fresh resources for advancing the development of these and other malaria vaccines.” Regarding the global funding available, she stresses that “although overall funding for malaria has remained relatively stable over the last years, the latest disease data show that this is not enough and our hard-won gains against the disease may very well be lost. It is therefore absolutely crucial that funders and policy makers commit to further stepping up investments in malaria vaccine R&D so we can develop the tools we need to achieve the elimination of malaria during the next decades.”

Contact: Dr. Stefan Jungbluth

+49 176 3161 5202

Full Press Release:

180425_EVI_World Malaria Day 2018 News r
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