MMVC annual meeting

The EDCTP-funded Multistage Malaria Vaccine Consortium (MMVC) met for their 2022 annual meeting in The Gambia in November 2022. There were exciting updates on the progress of vaccines against all stages of the parasite’s life cycle. The R21/Matrix-M anti-sporozoite vaccine has shown high efficacy over three years of follow-up in Nanoro, Burkina Faso, and is now in a Phase III trial in four African countries targeting regulatory approvals and large-scale market supply in 2023 by the Serum Institute of India.

The blood-stage vaccine RH5 has shown potent functional antibody induction in Tanzanian children and is currently being assessed as both a soluble protein and a nanoparticle vaccine. RH5 in Matrix-M adjuvant will be combined with R21 in a trial in The Gambia in early 2023 and both RH5 vaccines will be compared in an efficacy trial in young children in Burkina Faso later in the year. A transmission-blocking vaccine Pfs25-IMX313 has also been evaluated in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, showing potent functional antibody induction, and will progress to field efficacy trials in west Africa over the final two years of the consortium’s work. Capacity development including several student PhD projects are progressing well after some delays caused by the pandemic, and controlled human malaria infection model “challenge” studies for both pre-erythrocytic and blood-stage vaccines have been undertaken recently. Overall, the consortium continues to develop leading vaccine candidates at each life-cycle stage and is now combining these towards a multi-stage next-generation vaccine.