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World Malaria Day 2022: harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives

Every year on April 25th, the World Malaria Day takes place as an internationally recognised date and an opportunity to commemorate and celebrate the progress that has been accomplished in the fight against malaria around the world. For 20 years, the global fight against malaria has made unprecedented progress, saving millions of lives. However, this treatable and preventable disease still costs many lives particularly in high burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region, more than two-thirds of deaths occurred among children under the age of five.



According to WHO’s latest World malaria report 2021, there were an estimated 241 million malaria cases and 627.000 malaria deaths worldwide. This represents about 14 million more cases compared to the previous year, and 69.000 more deaths. Approximately two-thirds of the additional deaths (47.000) were linked to disruptions inthe provision of malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.


On this World Malaria Day, EVI celebrates the progress made in the battle against malaria, as well as call attention to the shared responsibility of eliminating the disease and urge leaders and communities to join hands and bring us closer to a malaria-free world by 2030.


As member of the RBM Partnership, we fully support this year’s theme of World Malaria Day 2022 - "Zero Malaria – Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives”. WHO is calling for investments and innovation that bring new vector control approaches, diagnostics, antimalarial medicines, and other tools to speed the pace of progress against malaria. Vaccines can make a crucial contribution to this ambition, however political will, better guidance, adequate policies, massive scale-up in effective malaria vector-control, strategic information, clean water, and novel anti-malarial drugs are also needed.


Contributing to this effort, the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) -originally founded as ‘European Malaria Vaccine Initiative’ more than 20 year ago- continues to play an active role in malaria vaccine development.


As a partner in the MVPE-CC project, EVI is proud to support efforts to consolidate evidence for widespread use of the RTS,S malaria vaccine that was recommended for children at risk by WHO in 2021. Another candidate vaccine, R21, from EVI’s diverse malaria vaccine portfolio recently showed very promising results in a phase IIb trial which demonstrated high-level efficacy of 77% over 12-months of follow-up in Burkina Faso (MMVC). R21 is currently being tested in a large-scale phase lll trial in Africa raising hope for licensure of a more efficacious, second-generation malaria vaccine in the near future. Efforts are underway to foster the clinical development of the blood-stage malaria vaccine candidate SE-36 (SEmalvac 2 & SEmalvac 4). A phase Ib trial to test safety and immunogenicity of BK-SE36/CpG in 1 year-old children to adults in Burkina Faso was completed. Results indicated that there were no unexpected safety concerns, and the vaccine was immunogenic. A follow-up observational study of this trial is assessing the long-term persistence of the vaccine-induced antibody response.


Together with partners from Africa, Europe and Japan, EVI also continues to lead the development of vaccine candidates against placental malaria (VAC4PM), a severe disease affecting the particularly vulnerable group of pregnant women.


At EVI, we remain committed to harness innovation through pursuing diverse approaches and impactful collaborations to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives.


Read more about recent EVI malaria project portfolio:

· MIMVaC-Africa: A multilateral initiative to foster the clinical development of effective malaria vaccine candidates in Africa

· PfRipr5: Further development of a new asexual blood-stage malaria vaccine candidate

· VAC4PM: Clinical development of placental malaria vaccine candidates

· SEmalvac 4: Preparatory phase II for the malaria vaccine candidate NPC-SE36/CpG

· MVPE-CC: The Malaria Vaccine Pilot Evaluation-Case Control Project

· MMVC: The Multi-Stage Malaria Vaccine Consortium



To know more on the latest progress and global commitment to “Reaching the zero malaria target” we invite you to read the report: Zeroing on malaria elimination: Final report of the E-2020 initiative



WHO TEAM: Global Malaria Programme

EDITORS: WHO

NUMBER OF PAGES: 322

REFERENCE NUMBERS: ISBN: 978 92 4 004049 6