European Commission commits to fight against pregnancy-associated malaria

The European Commission recently dedicated six million Euros toward the development of a candidate vaccine against pregnancy-associated malaria.

The EC committed the money to the PlacMalVac project to protect the more than 100 million pregnant women at risk from PAM. PAM kills an estimated 10,000 women every year and up to 200,000 infants. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to malaria because of the clumping of red blood cells infected with Plasmodium falciparum in the placenta.

"Together with another grant recently awarded to EVI by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education to support two other projects related to PAM -PRIMALVAC and PAMCPH-, EVI has been instrumental in the mobilisation of EUR16 million for the development of vaccines against this type of malaria which specifically affects a particularly vulnerable demographic group: pregnant women," Executive Director of the European Vaccine Initiative Dr. Odlie Leroy said.

PAM can cause growth retardation and premature delivery, which in turn lead to higher rates of infant mortality. A protein called var2CSA is considered the leading candidate for a PAM vaccine and is the bases of vaccines currently under development in three different projects.

"With these three projects EVI has become the leading Product Development Partnership to advance the development of vaccines against pregnancy-associated malaria," Leroy said.