New roadmap for malaria vaccines targets next-generation products by 2030

The world should attempt to develop and license vaccines that eliminate 75 percent of malaria cases by 2030, according to goals published on Thursday in the 2013 Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap.

The roadmap, which was created as part of a consultative process led by the World Health Organization, cites the 2030 goal, in addition to the original 2006 roadmap's goal of having a licensed Plasmodium falciparum malaria vaccine for children under five years of age in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015.

"Safe, effective, affordable vaccines could play a critical role in defeating malaria," Robert Newman, the director of the WHO's Global Malaria Programme, said. "Despite all the recent progress countries have made, and despite important innovations in diagnostics, drugs and vector control, the global burden of malaria remains unacceptably high."

The updated roadmap was launched on Thursday at the annual conference of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene in Washington. The roadmap's vision also contains the goal of developing malaria vaccines that reduce transmission of the parasite and substantially reduce the incidence of human malaria infection.

"The new vaccines should show at least 75 percent efficacy against clinical malaria, be suitable for use in in all malaria-endemic areas, and be licensed by 2030," Jean-Marie Okwo Bele, the director of the WHO's Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, said. "The roadmap also sets a target for malaria vaccines that reduce transmission of the parasite."

Of the 27 malaria vaccine candidates currently in clinical trials, only RTS,S/AS01 is in late-stage development. Final results from Phase III trials of RTS,S/AS01 will be available by 2015. Depending on the final trial results and a regulatory review by the European Medicines Agency, the prequalification of the vaccine could occur in late 2015.