World Malaria Day 2020
EVI remains firmly committed to supporting malaria vaccine development
The global malaria burden has been dramatically reduced in the last 20 years. Increased financial and political commitment from countries worldwide has enabled the scale up of effective interventions, better data, and support to research and development. Compared to 839.000 malaria deaths globally in 2000, this number could be reduced in 2018 to an estimated 405.000 deaths, according to the latest World Malaria Report. Children under the age of five and pregnant women are at the highest risk of severe malaria.
Ahead of the World Malaria Day celebrated on 25 April, EVI emphasises that it remains firmly committed to the development of efficacious malaria vaccines and continues to collaborate with leading vaccine developers worldwide. EVI and collaborators in France and Burkina Faso have recently published promising results from the clinical testing of PRIMVAC, a placental malaria vaccine designed to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from severe malaria complications. The study, which was funded by the German and Irish governments, showed that PRIMVAC was safe, well tolerated, and able to induce a long-lasting immune response in all vaccinated women. “It appears that PRIMVAC has the capacity to trigger a lasting and potentially protective immune response, and therefore provides a very promising vaccine for combatting placental malaria,” says Dr Ole Olesen, Executive Director, EVI.
EVI is also participating in the MIMVaC-Africa consortium, recently funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), to accelerate the development of highly effective malaria vaccines that meet the goals of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap. EVI is further involved in the development of several malaria blood stage vaccines with generous support from Japan´s GHIT Fund.
Funding for malaria has remained relatively stable since 2010, but the current level of investment is far from sufficient to reach the critical milestones in WHO´s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030. This World Malaria Day, as the world struggles to respond to COVID-19, there is a significant risk that support for malaria programmes may suffer reduction. We therefore urge policy makers and funders to sustain and increase their investments to end malaria, including investments into research and development of novel tools and technologies. To protect the most vulnerable from malaria, an efficacious second-generation malaria vaccine remains a missing tool to complement insecticide-treated bed nets and anti-malarial drugs. As member of the RBM Partnership, we fully support this year´s theme of World Malaria Day 2020 - Zero Malaria Starts with Me! Get your leaders to take action!