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Optimizing a deployable high efficacy malaria vaccine (OptiMalVax)
Start date: Jan 1, 2017, End date: Dec 31, 2021 PROJECT  ONGOING 

A highly effective malaria vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum should help prevent half a million deaths from malaria each year. New vaccine technologies and antigen discovery approaches now make accelerated design and development of a highly effective multi-antigen multi-stage subunit vaccine feasible. Leading malariologists, vaccine researchers and product developers will here collaborate in an exciting programme of antigen discovery science linked to rapid clinical development of new vaccine candidates. Our approach tackles the toughest problems in malaria vaccine design: choice of the best antigens, attaining high immunogenicity, avoiding polymorphic antigens and increasing the durability of vaccine immunogenicity and efficacy.We take advantage of several recent advances in vaccinology and adopt some very new technologies: sequencing malaria peptides eluted from the HLA molecules, parasites expressing multiple transgenes, multi-antigen virus-like particles constructed with new bonding technologies, delayed release microcapsules, and liver-targeted immunisation with vaccine vectors.We enhance our chances of success by using a multi-stage multi-antigen approach, by optimising the magnitude and durability of well-characterised immune responses to key antigens, and using stringent infectious challenges and functional assays as established criteria for progression at each stage.The consortium comprises many of the foremost researchers in this field in Europe with leading groups in the USA, Australia and Africa. We link to EDCTP programmes and harmonise our timeline to fit with the recent roadmaps for malaria vaccine development. We include a major pharma partner and several excellent European biotech companies helping enhance Europe’s leading position in the commercial development of vaccines.This ambitious and exciting programme should have a high chance of success in tackling the major global health problem posed by malaria.
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