SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

New members join PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative

A group of the world's most eminent malaria scientists and vaccinologists have been named to the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative's vaccine development council - a group of external experts who provide strategic input and advice for the development of an effective vaccine.

Malaria kills more than 500,000 children under the age of five each year and MVI is hoping to fight the vector-borne disease with safe and effective vaccines, BSS reports.

The new additions to the vaccine development council include Dr. Norman Baylor, the president and CEO of Biologics Consulting Group and former director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review at the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research; Dr. Kamini Mendis, an independent consultant on malaria and tropical medicine, formerly the coordinator of malaria treatment and malaria elimination at the World Health Organization; Dr. Rafick-Pierre Skaly, the co-director and chief scientific officer of VGTI Florida; and Dr. Fidel Zavala, a professor in the department of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, according to BSS.

"We're fortunate to have some of the world's most distinguished scientists advising us on MVI's malaria vaccine research and development strategy," Dr. David Kaslow, the director of MVI and the former chair of VSPAC, said, BSS reports. "The expertise of the members is a critical resource to realizing our near-term strategic goal of supporting development of a first-generation malaria vaccine that could protect millions against disease and death, as well as our long-term goals of developing more highly effective second-generation vaccines, including vaccines to support future elimination and eradication efforts."

MVI has many vaccine projects in the works for controlling and hopefully eradicating malaria. MVI is partnered with companies, governments and organizations in order to help advance the most promising vaccine candidates. Additionally, VSPAC is a vital part of a comprehensive portfolio management system that allows for only the most promising projects to move forward, according to BSS.

Experts and independent advice on the vaccine portfolio is provided by VSPAC, helping MVI make the best decisions on how to manage its resources.