SPf66 malaria vaccine is safe and immunogenic in malaria naive adults in Thailand.
ABSTRACT In preparation for an efficacy trial of malaria vaccine SPf66 in Thailand, a series of overlapping Phase I trials were conducted of US-manufactured SPf66. Here, two clinical lots were evaluated for safety and immunogenicity in a combined open-label trial. Eleven healthy, malaria naive, 18-44 year-old Thai men and women received three doses by subcutaneous injection in alternate arms at 0, 1 and 6 months. Safety was assessed by monitoring local and systemic reactogenicity and laboratory parameters. Common side effects were mild erythema, induration and tenderness at the site of injection which resolved within 24-48 h. At third immunization, two volunteers developed acute bilateral reactions with induration, erythema and pruritus limited to the sites of the second and third immunizations. Eight of 11 volunteers sero-converted by ELISA, six of whom would be classified as high responders by Colombian standards. Eight of 11 volunteers developed a lymphoproliferative response to the SPf66 antigen. Side effects were more common and antibody and lymphoproliferative responses greatest, among the four female volunteers. This initial study of SPf66 malaria vaccine in Asia constitutes an essential link between the initial Phase I study in the US and subsequent field studies in a semi-immune population in a malaria endemic area of Thailand. This study further establishes comparability of US-manufactured SPf66 with that of Colombian provenance and substantiates the validity of the subsequent negative efficacy results of SPf66 in a field trial in Thailand.
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ABSTRACT: Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein 3 is a malaria vaccine candidate that was identified, characterised, and developed based on a unique immuno-clinical approach. The vaccine construct was derived from regions fully conserved among various strains and containing B cell epitopes targeted by human antibodies (from malaria-immune adults) that are able to mediate a monocyte-dependent parasite killing effect. The corresponding long synthetic peptide was administered to 36 volunteers, with either alum or Montanide ISA720 as adjuvant. Both formulations induced cellular and humoral immune responses. With alum, the responses lasted up to 12 mo. The vaccine-induced antibodies were predominantly of cytophilic classes, i.e., able to cooperate with effector cells. In vitro, the antibodies induced an inhibition of the P. falciparum erythrocytic growth in a monocyte-dependent manner, which was in most instances as high as or greater than that induced by natural antibodies from immune African adults. In vivo transfer of the volunteers' sera into P. falciparum-infected humanized SCID mice profoundly reduced or abrogated parasitaemia. These inhibitory effects were related to the antibody reactivity with the parasite native protein, which was seen in 60% of the volunteers, and remained in samples taken 12 mo postimmunisation. This is the first malaria vaccine clinical trial to clearly demonstrate antiparasitic activity by vaccine-induced antibodies by both in vitro and in vivo methods. The results, showing the induction of long-lasting antibodies directed to a fully conserved polypeptide, also challenge current concepts about malaria vaccines, such as unavoidable polymorphism, low antigenicity, and poor induction of immune memory.PLoS Medicine 12/2005; 2(11):e344. · 16.27 Impact Factor