John Lusingu

University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Capital Region, Denmark

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Publications (31)292.95 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background The RTS,S malaria vaccine is currently undergoing phase 3 trials. High vaccine-induced antibody titres to the circumsporozoite protein (CSP) antigen have been associated with protection from infection and episodes of clinical malaria.Methods Using data from 5,144 participants in nine phase 2 trials, we explore predictors of vaccine immunogenicity (anti-CSP antibody titres), decay in antibody titres, and the association between antibody titres and clinical outcomes. We use empirically-observed relationships between these factors to predict vaccine efficacy in a range of scenarios.ResultsVaccine-induced anti-CSP antibody titres were significantly associated with age (P¿=¿0.04), adjuvant (P <0.001), pre-vaccination anti-hepatitis B surface antigen titres (P¿=¿0.005) and pre-vaccination anti-CSP titres (P <0.001). Co-administration with other vaccines reduced anti-CSP antibody titres although not significantly (P¿=¿0.095). Antibody titres showed a bi-phasic decay over time with an initial rapid decay in the first three months and a second slower decay over the next three to four years. Antibody titres were significantly associated with protection, with a titre of 51 (95% Credible Interval (CrI): 29 to 85) ELISA units/ml (EU/mL) predicted to prevent 50% of infections in children. Vaccine efficacy was predicted to decline to zero over four years in a setting with entomological inoculation rate (EIR)¿=¿20 infectious bites per year (ibpy). Over a five-year follow-up period at an EIR¿=¿20 ibpy, we predict RTS,S will avert 1,782 cases per 1,000 vaccinated children, 1,452 cases per 1,000 vaccinated infants, and 887 cases per 1,000 infants when co-administered with expanded programme on immunisation (EPI) vaccines. Our main study limitations include an absence of vaccine-induced cellular immune responses and short duration of follow-up in some individuals.Conclusions Vaccine-induced anti-CSP antibody titres and transmission intensity can explain variations in observed vaccine efficacy.
    BMC medicine. 07/2014; 12(1):117.
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    ABSTRACT: The circumsporozoite protein (CS protein) on the malaria parasites in mosquitoes plays an important role in sporogony in mosquitoes. The RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine candidate, which has shown significant efficacy against clinical malaria in a large Phase 3 trial, targets the Plasmodium falciparum CS protein, but the ability of serum from vaccinated individuals to inhibit sporogony in mosquitoes has not been evaluated.
    Malaria Journal 07/2014; 13(1):263. · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) is a key strategy in the control of pregnancy-associated malaria. However, this strategy is compromised by widespread drug resistance from single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the Plasmodium falciparum dihydrofolate reductase and dihydropteroate synthetase genes. During September 2008-October 2010, we monitored a cohort of 924 pregnant women in an area of Tanzania with declining malaria transmission. P. falciparum parasites were genotyped, and the effect of infecting haplotypes on birthweight was assessed. Of the genotyped parasites, 9.3%, 46.3%, and 44.4% had quadruple or less, quintuple, and sextuple mutated haplotypes, respectively. Mutant haplotypes were unrelated to SP doses. Compared with infections with the less-mutated haplotypes, infections with the sextuple haplotype mutation were associated with lower (359 g) birthweights. Continued use of the suboptimal IPTp-SP regimen should be reevaluated, and alternative strategies (e.g., intermittent screening and treatment or intermittent treatment with safe and effective alternative drugs) should be evaluated.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases 09/2013; 19(9). · 6.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes in host blood vessels is a key triggering event in the pathogenesis of severe childhood malaria, which is responsible for about one million deaths every year. Sequestration is mediated by specific interactions between members of the P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) family and receptors on the endothelial lining. Severe childhood malaria is associated with expression of specific PfEMP1 subtypes containing domain cassettes (DCs) 8 and 13 (ref. 3), but the endothelial receptor for parasites expressing these proteins was unknown. Here we identify endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR), which mediates the cytoprotective effects of activated protein C, as the endothelial receptor for DC8 and DC13 PfEMP1. We show that EPCR binding is mediated through the amino-terminal cysteine-rich interdomain region (CIDRα1) of DC8 and group A PfEMP1 subfamilies, and that CIDRα1 interferes with protein C binding to EPCR. This PfEMP1 adhesive property links P. falciparum cytoadhesion to a host receptor involved in anticoagulation and endothelial cytoprotective pathways, and has implications for understanding malaria pathology and the development of new malaria interventions.
    Nature 06/2013; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pregnancy associated malaria is associated with decreased birth weight, but in-utero evaluation of fetal growth alterations is rarely performed. The objective of this study was to investigate malaria induced changes in fetal growth during the 3(rd) trimester using trans-abdominal ultrasound. An observational study of 876 pregnant women (398 primi- and secundigravidae and 478 multigravidae) was conducted in Tanzania. Fetal growth was monitored with ultrasound and screening for malaria was performed regularly. Birth weight and fetal weight were converted to z-scores, and fetal growth evaluated as fetal weight gain from the 26th week of pregnancy. Malaria infection only affected birth weight and fetal growth among primi- and secundigravid women. Forty-eight of the 398 primi- and secundigravid women had malaria during pregnancy causing a reduction in the newborns z-score of -0.50 (95% CI: -0.86, -0.13, P = 0.008, multiple linear regression). Fifty-eight percent (28/48) of the primi- and secundigravidae had malaria in the first half of pregnancy, but an effect on fetal growth was observed in the 3(rd) trimester with an OR of 4.89 for the fetal growth rate belonging to the lowest 25% in the population (95%CI: 2.03-11.79, P<0.001, multiple logistic regression). At an individual level, among the primi- and secundigravidae, 27% experienced alterations of fetal growth immediately after exposure but only for a short interval, 27% only late in pregnancy, 16.2% persistently from exposure until the end of pregnancy, and 29.7% had no alterations of fetal growth. The effect of malaria infections was observed during the 3(rd) trimester, despite infections occurring much earlier in pregnancy, and different mechanisms might operate leading to different patterns of growth alterations. This study highlights the need for protection against malaria throughout pregnancy and the recognition that observed changes in fetal growth might be a consequence of an infection much earlier in pregnancy.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e53794. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Low birth weight and prematurity are amongst the strongest predictors of neonatal death. However, the extent to which they act independently is poorly understood. Our objective was to estimate the neonatal mortality risk associated with preterm birth when stratified by weight for gestational age in the high mortality setting of East Africa. Members and collaborators of the Malaria and the MARCH Centers, at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, were contacted and protocols reviewed for East African studies that measured (1) birth weight, (2) gestational age at birth using antenatal ultrasound or neonatal assessment, and (3) neonatal mortality. Ten datasets were identified and four met the inclusion criteria. The four datasets (from Uganda, Kenya, and two from Tanzania) contained 5,727 births recorded between 1999-2010. 4,843 births had complete outcome data and were included in an individual participant level meta-analysis. 99% of 445 low birth weight (< 2,500 g) babies were either preterm (< 37 weeks gestation) or small for gestational age (below tenth percentile of weight for gestational age). 52% of 87 neonatal deaths occurred in preterm or small for gestational age babies. Babies born < 34 weeks gestation had the highest odds of death compared to term babies (odds ratio [OR] 58.7 [95% CI 28.4-121.4]), with little difference when stratified by weight for gestational age. Babies born 34-36 weeks gestation with appropriate weight for gestational age had just three times the likelihood of neonatal death compared to babies born term, (OR 3.2 [95% CI 1.0-10.7]), but the likelihood for babies born 34-36 weeks who were also small for gestational age was 20 times higher (OR 19.8 [95% CI 8.3-47.4]). Only 1% of babies were born moderately premature and small for gestational age, but this group suffered 8% of deaths. Individual level data on newborns are scarce in East Africa; potential biases arising due to the non-systematic selection of the individual studies, or due to the methods applied for estimating gestational age, are discussed. Moderately preterm babies who are also small for gestational age experience a considerably increased likelihood of neonatal death in East Africa.
    PLoS Medicine 08/2012; 9(8):e1001292. · 15.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To identify factors associated with perinatal mortality in northeastern Tanzania. Prospective cohort study. Northeastern Tanzania. Population. 872 mothers and their newborns. Pregnant women were screened for factors possibly associated with perinatal mortality, including preeclampsia, small-for-gestational age, preterm delivery, anemia, and health-seeking behavior. Fetal growth was monitored using ultrasound. Finally, the specific causes of the perinatal deaths were evaluated. Perinatal mortality. Forty-six deaths occurred. Key factors associated with perinatal mortality were preterm delivery (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 14.47, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.23-64.86, p < 0.001), small-for-gestational age (adjusted OR 3.54, 95%CI 1.18-10.61, p = 0.02), and maternal anemia (adjusted OR 10.34, 95%CI 1.89-56.52, p = 0.007). Adherence to the antenatal care program (adjusted OR 0.027, 95%CI 0.003-0.26, p = 0.002) protected against perinatal mortality. The cause of death in 43% of cases was attributed to complications related to labor and specifically to intrapartum asphyxia (30%) and neonatal infection (13%). Among the remaining deaths, 27% (7/26) were attributed to preeclampsia and 23% (6/26) to small-for-gestational age. Of these, 54% (14/26) were preterm. Preeclampsia, small-for-gestational age and preterm delivery were key risk factors and causes of perinatal mortality in this area of Tanzania. Maternal anemia was also strongly associated with perinatal mortality. Furthermore, asphyxia accounted for a large proportion of the perinatal deaths. Interventions should target the prevention and handling of these conditions in order to reduce perinatal mortality.
    Acta Obstetricia Et Gynecologica Scandinavica 06/2012; 91(9):1061-8. · 1.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The clinical outcome of Plasmodium falciparum infections ranges from asymptomatic parasitemia to severe malaria syndromes associated with high mortality. The virulence of P. falciparum infections is associated with the type of P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) expressed on the surface of infected erythrocytes to anchor these to the vascular lining. Although var2csa, the var gene encoding the PfEMP1 associated with placental malaria, was discovered in 2003, the identification of the var/PfEMP1 variants associated with severe malaria in children has remained elusive. To identify var/PfEMP1 variants associated with severe disease outcome, we compared var transcript levels in parasites from 88 children with severe malaria and 40 children admitted to the hospital with uncomplicated malaria. Transcript analysis was performed by RT-quantitative PCR using a set of 42 primer pairs amplifying var subtype-specific loci covering most var/PfEMP1 subtypes. In addition, we characterized the near-full-length sequence of the most prominently expressed var genes in three patients diagnosed with severe anemia and/or cerebral malaria. The combined analysis showed that severe malaria syndromes, including severe anemia and cerebral malaria, are associated with high transcript levels of PfEMP1 domain cassette 8-encoding var genes. Transcript levels of group A var genes, including genes encoding domain cassette 13, were also significantly higher in patients with severe syndromes compared with those with uncomplicated malaria. This study specifies the var/PfEMP1 types expressed in severe malaria in children, and thereby provides unique targets for future efforts to prevent and treat severe malaria infections.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2012; 109(26):E1791-800. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RTS,S/AS01, a vaccine targeting pre-erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum, is undergoing clinical trials. We report an analysis of cellular immune response to component Ags of RTS,S-hepatitis B surface Ag (HBs) and P. falciparum circumsporozoite (CS) protein-among Tanzanian children in a phase IIb RTS,S/AS01(E) trial. RTS,S/AS01 (E) vaccinees make stronger T cell IFN-γ, CD69, and CD25 responses to HBs peptides than do controls, indicating that RTS,S boosts pre-existing HBs responses. T cell CD69 and CD25 responses to CS and CS-specific secreted IL-2 were augmented by RTS,S vaccination. Importantly, more than 50% of peptide-induced IFN-γ(+) lymphocytes were NK cells, and the magnitude of the NK cell CD69 response to HBs peptides correlated with secreted IL-2 concentration. CD69 and CD25 expression and IL-2 secretion may represent sensitive markers of RTS,S-induced, CS-specific T cells. The potential for T cell-derived IL-2 to augment NK cell activation in RTS,S-vaccinated individuals, and the relevance of this for protection, needs to be explored further.
    The Journal of Immunology 04/2012; 188(10):5054-62. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In pregnant women, Plasmodium falciparum infections are an important cause of maternal morbidity as well as fetal and neonatal mortality. Erythrocytes infected by these malaria-causing parasites accumulate through adhesive interactions in placental intervillous spaces, thus evading detection in peripheral blood smears. Sequestered infected erythrocytes induce inflammation, offering the possibility of detecting inflammatory mediators in peripheral blood that could act as biomarkers of placental infection. In a longitudinal, prospective study in Tanzania, we quantified a range of different cytokines, chemokines and angiogenic factors in peripheral plasma samples, taken on multiple sequential occasions during pregnancy up to and including delivery, from P. falciparum-infected women and matched uninfected controls. The results show that during healthy, uninfected pregnancies the levels of most of the panel of molecules we measured were largely unchanged except at delivery. In women with P. falciparum, however, both comparative and longitudinal assessments consistently showed that the levels of IL-10 and IP-10 increased significantly whilst that of RANTES decreased significantly, regardless of gestational age at the time the infection was detected. ROC curve analysis indicated that a combination of increased IL-10 and IP-10 levels and decreased RANTES levels might be predictive of P. falciparum infections. In conclusion, our data suggest that host biomarkers in peripheral blood may represent useful diagnostic markers of P. falciparum infection during pregnancy, but placental histology results would need to be included to verify these findings.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e48763. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To produce a fetal weight chart representative of a Tanzanian population, and compare it to weight charts from Sub-Saharan Africa and the developed world. A longitudinal observational study in Northeastern Tanzania. Pregnant women were followed throughout pregnancy with serial trans-abdominal ultrasound. All pregnancies with pathology were excluded and a chart representing the optimal growth potential was developed using fetal weights and birth weights. The weight chart was compared to a chart from Congo, a chart representing a white population, and a chart representing a white population but adapted to the study population. The prevalence of SGA was assessed using all four charts. A total of 2193 weight measurements from 583 fetuses/newborns were included in the fetal weight chart. Our chart had lower percentiles than all the other charts. Most importantly, in the end of pregnancy, the 10(th) percentiles deviated substantially causing an overestimation of the true prevalence of SGA newborns if our chart had not been used. We developed a weight chart representative for a Tanzanian population and provide evidence for the necessity of developing regional specific weight charts for correct identification of SGA. Our weight chart is an important tool that can be used for clinical risk assessments of newborns and for evaluating the effect of intrauterine exposures on fetal and newborn weight.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e44773. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Malaria during pregnancy in Plasmodium falciparum endemic regions is a major cause of mortality and severe morbidity. VAR2CSA is the parasite ligand responsible for sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes to the receptor chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) in the placenta and is the leading candidate for a placental malaria vaccine. Antibodies induced in rats against the recombinant DBL4ε domain of VAR2CSA inhibit the binding of a number of laboratory and field parasite isolates to CSA. In this study, we used a DBL4ε peptide-array to identify epitopes targeted by DBL4ε-specific antibodies that inhibit CSA-binding of infected erythrocytes. We identified three regions of overlapping peptides which were highly antigenic. One peptide region distinguished itself particularly by showing a clear difference in the binding profile of highly parasite blocking IgG compared to the IgG with low capacity to inhibit parasite adhesion to CSA. This region was further characterized and together these results suggest that even though antibodies against the synthetic peptides which cover this region did not recognize native protein, the results using the mutant domain suggest that this linear epitope might be involved in the induction of inhibitory antibodies induced by the recombinant DBL4ε domain.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e43663. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes in placental intervillous spaces causes inflammation and pathology. Knowledge of the profiles of immune cells associated with the physiopathology of pregnancy-associated malaria (PAM) is scarce. We conducted a longitudinal, prospective study, both in Benin and Tanzania, including ∼1000 pregnant women in each site with systematic follow-up at scheduled antenatal visits until delivery. We used ex vivo flow cytometry to identify peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) profiles that are associated with PAM and anaemia, determining the phenotypic composition and activation status of PBMC in selected sub-groups with and without PAM both at inclusion and at delivery in a total of 302 women. Both at inclusion and at delivery PAM was associated with significantly increased frequencies both of B cells overall and of activated B cells. Infection-related profiles were otherwise quite distinct at the two different time-points. At inclusion, PAM was associated with anaemia, with an increased frequency of immature monocytes and with a decreased frequency of regulatory T cells (Treg). At delivery, infected women presented with significantly fewer plasmacytoid dendritic cells (DC), more myeloid DC expressing low levels of HLA-DR, and more effector T cells (Teff) compared to uninfected women. Independent associations with an increased risk of anaemia were found for altered antigen-presenting cell frequencies at inclusion, but for an increased frequency of Teff at delivery. Our findings emphasize the prominent role played by B cells during PAM whenever it arises during pregnancy, whilst also revealing signature changes in other circulating cell types that, we conclude, primarily reflect the relative duration of the infections. Thus, the acute, recently-acquired infections present at delivery were marked by changes in DC and Teff frequencies, contrasting with infections at inclusion, considered chronic in nature, that were characterized by an abundance of immature monocytes and a paucity of Treg in PBMC.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e49621. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An ongoing phase 3 study of the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of candidate malaria vaccine RTS,S/AS01 is being conducted in seven African countries. From March 2009 through January 2011, we enrolled 15,460 children in two age categories--6 to 12 weeks of age and 5 to 17 months of age--for vaccination with either RTS,S/AS01 or a non-malaria comparator vaccine. The primary end point of the analysis was vaccine efficacy against clinical malaria during the 12 months after vaccination in the first 6000 children 5 to 17 months of age at enrollment who received all three doses of vaccine according to protocol. After 250 children had an episode of severe malaria, we evaluated vaccine efficacy against severe malaria in both age categories. In the 14 months after the first dose of vaccine, the incidence of first episodes of clinical malaria in the first 6000 children in the older age category was 0.32 episodes per person-year in the RTS,S/AS01 group and 0.55 episodes per person-year in the control group, for an efficacy of 50.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 45.8 to 54.6) in the intention-to-treat population and 55.8% (97.5% CI, 50.6 to 60.4) in the per-protocol population. Vaccine efficacy against severe malaria was 45.1% (95% CI, 23.8 to 60.5) in the intention-to-treat population and 47.3% (95% CI, 22.4 to 64.2) in the per-protocol population. Vaccine efficacy against severe malaria in the combined age categories was 34.8% (95% CI, 16.2 to 49.2) in the per-protocol population during an average follow-up of 11 months. Serious adverse events occurred with a similar frequency in the two study groups. Among children in the older age category, the rate of generalized convulsive seizures after RTS,S/AS01 vaccination was 1.04 per 1000 doses (95% CI, 0.62 to 1.64). The RTS,S/AS01 vaccine provided protection against both clinical and severe malaria in African children. (Funded by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative; RTS,S ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00866619 .).
    New England Journal of Medicine 11/2011; 365(20):1863-75. · 51.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RTS,S/AS01(E) is the lead candidate malaria vaccine and confers pre-erythrocytic immunity. Vaccination may therefore impact acquired immunity to blood-stage malaria parasites after natural infection. We measured, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, antibodies to 4 Plasmodium falciparum merozoite antigens (AMA-1, MSP-1(42), EBA-175, and MSP-3) and by growth inhibitory activity (GIA) using 2 parasite clones (FV0 and 3D7) at 4 times on 860 children who were randomized to receive with RTS,S/AS01(E) or a control vaccine.  Antibody concentrations to AMA-1, EBA-175, and MSP-1(42) decreased with age during the first year of life, then increased to 32 months of age. Anti-MSP-3 antibody concentrations gradually increased, and GIA gradually decreased up to 32 months. Vaccination with RTS,S/AS01(E) resulted in modest reductions in AMA-1, EBA-175, MSP-1(42), and MSP-3 antibody concentrations and no significant change in GIA. Increasing anti-merozoite antibody concentrations and GIA were prospectively associated with increased risk of clinical malaria. Vaccination with RTS,S/AS01E reduces exposure to blood-stage parasites and, thus, reduces anti-merozoite antigen antibody concentrations. However, in this study, these antibodies were not correlates of clinical immunity to malaria. Instead, heterogeneous exposure led to confounded, positive associations between increasing antibody concentration and increasing risk of clinical malaria.
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 07/2011; 204(1):9-18. · 5.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RTS,S/AS01E is the lead candidate malaria vaccine. We recently showed efficacy against clinical falciparum malaria in 5-17 month old children, during an average of 8 months follow-up. We aimed to assess the efficacy of RTS,S/AS01E during 15 months of follow-up. Between March, 2007, and October, 2008, we enrolled healthy children aged 5-17 months in Kilifi, Kenya, and Korogwe, Tanzania. Computer-generated block randomisation was used to randomly assign participants (1:1) to receive three doses (at month 0, 1, and 2) of either RTS,S/AS01E or human diploid-cell rabies vaccine. The primary endpoint was time to first clinical malaria episode, defined as the presence of fever (temperature ≥37·5°C) and a Plasmodium falciparum density of 2500/μL or more. Follow-up was 12 months for children from Korogwe and 15 months for children from Kilifi. Primary analysis was per protocol. In a post-hoc modelling analysis we characterised the associations between anti-circumsporozoite antibodies and protection against clinical malaria episodes. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00380393. 894 children were assigned, 447 in each treatment group. In the per-protocol analysis, 82 of 415 children in the RTS,S/AS01E group and 125 of 420 in the rabies vaccine group had first or only clinical malaria episode by 12 months, vaccine efficacy 39·2% (95% CI 19·5-54·1, p=0·0005). At 15 months follow-up, 58 of 209 children in the RTS,S/AS01E group and 85 of 206 in the rabies vaccine group had first or only clinical malaria episode, vaccine efficacy 45·8% (24·1-61·3, p=0·0004). At 12 months after the third dose, anti-circumsporozoite antibody titre data were available for 390 children in the RTS,S/AS01E group and 391 in the rabies group. A mean of 15 months (range 12-18 months) data were available for 172 children in the RTS,S/AS01E group and 155 in the rabies group. These titres at 1 month after the third dose were not associated with protection, but titres at 6·5 months were. The level of protection increased abruptly over a narrow range of antibody concentrations. The most common adverse events were pneumonia, febrile convulsion, gastroenteritis, and P falciparum malaria. RTS,S/AS01E confers sustained efficacy for at least 15 months and shows promise as a potential public health intervention against childhood malaria in malaria endemic countries. PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), GlaxoSmithKline.
    The Lancet Infectious Diseases 02/2011; 11(2):102-9. · 19.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Malaria transmission may be considered to be homogenous with well-mixed parasite populations (as in the classic Ross/Macdonald models). Marked fine-scale heterogeneity of transmission has been observed in the field (i.e., over a few kilometres), but there are relatively few data on the degree of mixing. Since the Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 (PfEMP1) is highly polymorphic, the host's serological responses may be used to infer exposure to parasite sub-populations. We measured the antibody responses to 46 individual PfEMP1 domains at four time points among 450 children in Kenya, and identified distinct spatial clusters of antibody responses to individual domains. 35 domains showed strongly significant sero-clusters at p = 0.001. Individuals within the high transmission hotspot showed the greatest diversity of anti-PfEMP1 responses. Individuals outside the hotspot had a less diverse range of responses, even if as individuals they were at relatively intense exposure. We infer that antigenically distinct sub-populations of parasites exist on a fine spatial scale in a study area of rural Kenya. Further studies should examine antigenic variation over longer periods of time and in different study areas.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(6):e21711. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Malaria during pregnancy is a major cause of intra-uterine growth-retardation and infant death in sub-Saharan Africa. Ideally, this could be prevented by a vaccine delivered before the first pregnancy. Antibodies against domain DBL4ɛ from VAR2CSA has been shown to inhibit adhesion of laboratory isolates to the placental receptor chondroitin sulfate A. In this study, the binding inhibitory efficacy of IgG elicited by two different DBL4ɛ recombinant proteins was tested on a panel of fresh clinical isolates from pregnant women living in Benin and Tanzania. The most promising recombinant protein elicited antibodies with similar efficacy as pooled plasma from immune multi-gravid African women.
    Vaccine 11/2010; 29(3):437-43. · 3.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the advent of increasing international collaborative research involving participants drawn from populations with diverse cultural backgrounds, community engagement becomes very critical for the smooth conduction of the research. The African Malaria Network Trust (AMANET) is a pan-African non-governmental organization that sponsors and technically supports malaria vaccine trials in various African countries. AMANET sponsored phase Ib or IIb clinical trials of several malaria vaccine candidates in various Africa countries. In Burkina Faso, Mali and Tanzania trials of the merozoite surface protein 3 -- in its Long Synthetic Peptide configuration (MSP3 LSP) -- were conducted. In Mali, the apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) was tested, while a hybrid of glutamate rich protein (GLURP) and MSP3 (GMZ2) was tested in Gabon. AMANET recognizes the importance of engaging with the communities from which trial participants are drawn, hence community engagement was given priority in all project activities conducted in the various countries. Existing local social systems were used to engage the communities from which clinical trial participants were drawn. This article focuses on community engagement activities employed at various AMANET-supported clinical trial sites in different countries, highlighting subtle differences in the approaches used. The paper also gives some general pros and cons of community engagement. Community engagement enables two-way sharing of accurate information and ideas between researchers and researched communities, which helps to create an environment conducive to smooth research activities with enhanced sense of research ownership by the communities.
    Malaria Journal 03/2010; 9:86. · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The malaria vaccine candidate, RTS,S/AS01(E), showed promising protective efficacy in a trial of Kenyan and Tanzanian children aged 5 to 17 months. Here we report on the vaccine's safety and tolerability. The experimental design was a Phase 2b, two-centre, double-blind (observer- and participant-blind), randomised (1∶1 ratio) controlled trial. Three doses of study or control (rabies) vaccines were administered intramuscularly at 1 month intervals. Solicited adverse events (AEs) were collected for 7 days after each vaccination. There was surveillance and reporting for unsolicited adverse events for 30 days after each vaccination. Serious adverse events (SAEs) were recorded throughout the study period which lasted for 14 months after dose 1 in Korogwe, Tanzania and an average of 18 months post-dose 1 in Kilifi, Kenya. Blood samples for safety monitoring of haematological, renal and hepatic functions were taken at baseline, 3, 10 and 14 months after dose 1. A total of 894 children received RTS,S/AS01(E) or rabies vaccine between March and August 2007. Overall, children vaccinated with RTS,S/AS01(E) had fewer SAEs (51/447) than children in the control group (88/447). One SAE episode in a RTS,S/AS01(E) recipient and nine episodes among eight rabies vaccine recipients met the criteria for severe malaria. Unsolicited AEs were reported in 78% of subjects in the RTS,S/AS01(E) group and 74% of subjects in the rabies vaccine group. In both vaccine groups, gastroenteritis and pneumonia were the most frequently reported unsolicited AE. Fever was the most frequently observed solicited AE and was recorded after 11% of RTS,S/AS01(E) doses compared to 31% of doses of rabies vaccine. The candidate vaccine RTS,S/AS01(E) showed an acceptable safety profile in children living in a malaria-endemic area in East Africa. More data on the safety of RTS,S/AS01(E) will become available from the Phase 3 programme.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(11):e14090. · 3.73 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

965 Citations
292.95 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2013
    • University of Copenhagen
      • • Centre for Medical Parasitology
      • • Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology
      Copenhagen, Capital Region, Denmark
    • Kenya Medical Research Institute
      Nairoba, Nairobi Area, Kenya
  • 2007–2012
    • National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR)
      Dār es Salām, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania