Report of a consultation on the optimization of clinical challenge trials for evaluation of candidate blood stage malaria vaccines, 18-19 March 2009, Bethesda, MD, USA.
ABSTRACT Development and optimization of first generation malaria vaccine candidates has been facilitated by the existence of a well-established Plasmodium falciparum clinical challenge model in which infectious sporozoites are administered to human subjects via mosquito bite. While ideal for testing pre-erythrocytic stage vaccines, some researchers believe that the sporozoite challenge model is less appropriate for testing blood stage vaccines. Here we report a consultation, co-sponsored by PATH MVI, USAID, EMVI and WHO, where scientists from all institutions globally that have conducted such clinical challenges in recent years and representatives from regulatory agencies and funding agencies met to discuss clinical malaria challenge models. Participants discussed strengthening and harmonizing the sporozoite challenge model and considered the pros and cons of further developing a blood stage challenge possibly better suited for evaluating the efficacy of blood stage vaccines. This report summarizes major findings and recommendations, including an update on the Plasmodium vivax clinical challenge model, the prospects for performing experimental challenge trials in malaria endemic countries and an update on clinical safety data. While the focus of the meeting was on the optimization of clinical challenge models for evaluation of blood stage candidate malaria vaccines, many of the considerations are relevant for the application of challenge trials to other purposes.
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ABSTRACT: While recent progress has been made in reducing malaria mortality with other interventions, vaccines are still urgently needed to further reduce the incidence of clinical disease, including during pregnancy, and to provide “herd protection” by blocking parasite transmission. The most clinically advanced candidate, RTS,S, is presently undergoing Phase 3 evaluation in young African children across 13 clinical sites in eight African countries. In the 12-month period following vaccination, RTS,S conferred approximately 50% protection from clinical Plasmodium falciparum disease in children aged 5–17 months, and approximately 30% protection in children aged 6–12 weeks when administered in conjunction with Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI) vaccines. The development of more highly efficacious vaccines to prevent clinical disease caused by both P. falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, as well as vaccines to support elimination efforts by inducing immunity that blocks malaria parasite transmission, are priorities. Some key barriers to malaria vaccine development include: a paucity of well-characterized target immunogens and an absence of clear correlates of protection to enable vaccine development targeting all stages of the P. falciparum and P. vivax lifecycles; a limited number of safe and effective delivery systems, including adjuvants, that induce potent, long-lived protective immunity, be it by antibody, CD4+, and/or CD8+ T cell responses; and, for vaccines designed to provide “herd protection” by targeting sexual stage and/or mosquito antigens, the lack of a clear clinical and regulatory pathway to licensure using non-traditional endpoints. Recommendations to overcome these, and other key challenges, are suggested in this document.Vaccine 04/2013; 31:B233–B243. DOI:10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.02.040 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The WHO Malaria Advisory Committee (MALVAC) provides advice to WHO on strategic priorities, activities and technical issues related to global efforts to develop vaccines against malaria. MALVAC convened a series of meetings to obtain expert, impartial consensus views on the priorities and best practice for vaccine-related research and development strategies. The technical areas covered during these consultations included: guidance on clinical trial design for candidate sporozoite and asexual blood stage vaccines; measures of efficacy of malaria vaccines in Phase IIb and Phase III trials; standardization of immunoassays; the challenges of developing assays and designing trials for interventions against malaria transmission; modelling impact of anti-malarial interventions; whole organism malaria vaccines, and Plasmodium vivax vaccine-related research and evaluation. These informed discussions and opinions are summarized here to provide guidance on harmonization of strategies to help ensure high standards of practice and comparability between centres and the outcome of vaccine trials.Malaria Journal 10/2013; 12(1):362. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-12-362 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background The use of quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) has allowed for precise quantification of parasites in the prepatent period and greatly improved the reproducibility and statistical power of controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) trials. Parasitological data presented here are from non-immunized, control-challenged subjects who participated in two CHMI trials conducted at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). Methods Standardized sporozoite challenge was achieved through the bite of five Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes infected with the 3D7clone of the NF54 strain of Plasmodium falciparum. Blood smears were scored positive when two unambiguous parasites were found. Analysis of parasitological PCR data was performed on log-transformed data using an independent sample t-test when comparing the two studies. The multiplication rate of blood-stage parasites was estimated using the linear model. Results On average, parasites were detected 4.91 days (95% CI = 4.190 to 5.627) before smears. The earliest parasites were detected within 120 hours (5.01 days) after challenge. Parasite densities showed consistent cyclic patterns of blood-stage parasite growth in all volunteers. The parasite multiplication rates for both studies was 8.18 (95% CI = 6.162 to 10.20). Data showed that at low parasite densities, a combination of sequestration and stochastic effects of low copy number DNA may impact qPCR detection and the parasite detection limit. Conclusion Smear positive is an endpoint which antimalarial rescue is imperative whereas early detection of parasitological data by qPCR can allow for better anticipation of the endpoint. This would allow for early treatment to reduce clinical illness and risk for study participants. To use qPCR as the primary endpoint in CHMI trials, an algorithm of two positives by qPCR where one of the positives must have parasite density of at least 2 parasites/μL is proposed.Malaria Journal 07/2014; 13(1):288. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-13-288 · 3.49 Impact Factor