The case for a malaria vaccine

Angus Morgan

16 June, 2017

Image: Dr Vashti Irani

While steady progress is being achieved in the fight against malaria, there’s a critical missing piece in the elimination toolbox – an effective malaria vaccine.

In a recent presentation to donors, Burnet malaria scientist Dr Vashti Irani explained how and why a vaccine is fundamental to the quest for elimination.

“One of the Millennium Development Goals was to reduce the burden of malaria, and in the past 15 years we’ve come a long way,” Dr Irani said. “We’re using vector control, good diagnostics and antimalarials to achieve this.

“But insecticide resistance and drug resistance is increasing, and the parasite always seems to be one step ahead. We need a malaria vaccine as part of the suite of solutions, not to work in isolation, but to work with all these other tools.”

In her address, Dr Irani outlined the state of play in malaria vaccine research, and the need to meet the goal of developing a vaccine with 75 percent efficacy by 2030.

“A vaccine prepares your body for what the disease will look like without giving you the symptoms, so that when you do become infected, your body is ready, it can attack and protect you from the disease,” she said.

“They are safe, cost-effective and long-term, and one of the greatest public health tools we have.

“Vaccines have been fundamental for eliminating and then eradicating many diseases historically, including smallpox, and we’re now 99 percent towards eradicating polio because of good vaccines.”

Find out more about Burnet’s malaria research or help save mums and babies from malaria by donating to our Saving Lives from Malaria Appeal.



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Burnet Institute

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