Malaria transmission blocking vaccines: an ideal public good
A vaccine which blocks the transmission of malaria would be of great public benefit. However, there is little industrial support for this type of malaria vaccine simply because its relevance is only to poor countries where malaria is endemic; it does not reduce a person’s chances of becoming infected, or reduce the severity of disease - as do the other types of malaria vaccine under development, which do have some industrial support (being of interest to travellers and the military).
This report is of a meeting held in 1999, of an international group of experts - including scientists, representatives from industry, major funding agencies and the World Health Organization - who addressed the development of a transmission blocking vaccine (TBV) for malaria. The report covers the feasibility of reducing transmission in various epidemiological settings, of regional elimination of malaria, of preventing/controlling malaria epidemics, and of protecting other vaccines and possibly also drugs against the emergence and/or spread of vaccine-or drug-resistant parasites. Also covered are:
- the ethics and economics of using TBVs;
- the scientific and technical basis for production of TBVs – the feasibility that one can be produced;
- pre-clinical development and testing (phase I, II and III trials);
- industrial aspects of TBV development including the requirements for industrial involvement and the way forward