Bethesda, MD, USA (December 14, 2006) In a move that promises to expand the types of malaria vaccine candidates in clinical development, the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) today announced a new partnership with Sanaria Inc., a Maryland company, to accelerate development of a unique malaria vaccine candidate.
Supported by a $29.3 million grant to PATH from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this strategic partnership will focus on the development and manufacture of Sanaria's malaria vaccine candidateone that uses a novel, whole-parasite approach to preventing infection from the most deadly malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. MVI and Sanaria will move quickly to conduct an initial safety and test-of-concept trial of the Sanaria candidate among volunteers in the United States.
"Close to one million children die of malaria each year," said Dr. Melinda Moree, Director of MVI. "With this support, we can examine another promising malaria vaccine technology and bring the field closer to delivering a safe, effective, and affordable pediatric malaria vaccine to at-risk communities in Africa."
Of the more than one million people who die of malaria every year, most of them are African children under five years old. Hundreds of millions more people suffer the effects of the mosquito-borne, parasitic disease each year. Scientists have been working for years to develop a preventive malaria vaccine and have recently demonstrated that such a vaccine is possible.
While the approach of much malaria vaccine research and development has centered on using one or more components of the malaria parasite that the human immune system can recognize, Sanaria is focused on using an attenuated, or weakened, form of the whole parasite. The idea is that when this attenuated parasite is given to individuals, they will become immune to malaria but will not get sick. This is the first vaccine candidate of its kind in the MVI portfolio.<