New model for possible malaria vaccination suggests mass vaccination for low transmission areas

January 17, 2012

In the event that a vaccine for the prevention of malaria is licensed and ready for use (such as the research malaria vaccine RTS,S, which currently looks promising), distributing and giving the vaccine to three-month old infants via the World Health Organization's Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) will be the most efficient mechanism in high transmission areas but for lower transmission areas, mass vaccination every 5 years might be a more efficient vaccination strategy, a new study has found.

In a modelling study led by Thomas Smith from the Public Health Institute in Basel, Switzerland, and published in this week's , the authors used 14 different models that simulated the transmission of the parasite that causes malaria (P. falciparum) in thousands of hypothetical individuals through different stages of . The authors used each model to predict the health benefits over 14 years of the potential malaria vaccine RTS,S given by different and found that the predicted benefits of giving the using the EPI strategy were modest and similar over a wide-range of settings. However, EPI with an initial catch-up phase averted the most deaths per vaccine dose in individuals who had over 10 infectious malaria bites a year but in areas where people typically have two or less infectious mosquito bites a year, the authors' model found that strategies substantially reduced transmission leading to much greater health effects per dose than other strategies, even at modest coverage.

This study only reports the first stages of using ensemble modelling to predict the health effects of RTS,S vaccination, so future studies will need to combine the outputs of multiple models with economic analyses to provide a rational basis for the design of vaccine-containing malaria control and elimination programs.

The authors say: "The ensemble modeling approach provides more robust outcomes than single models, and our analyses suggest that such an approach produces greater confidence in predictions of health effects for lower malaria transmission settings than for higher ones."

The authors continue: "This study suggests that targeted mass vaccination with RTS,S in low transmission settings may be more efficient than national-level introduction via EPI programs, but there remains a need to analyze the feasibility and economics of such strategies and the circumstances in which vaccination will avert epidemics."

More information: Smith T, Ross A, Maire N, Chitnis N, Studer A, et al. (2012) Ensemble Modeling of the Likely Public Health Impact of a Pre-Erythrocytic Malaria Vaccine. PLoS Med 9(1): e1001157. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001157

Related Stories

Clinical trial of malaria vaccine begins in Africa

May 25, 2011

The vaccine, RTS,S, developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Biologicals and PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), is currently in phase III clinical trials and has previously reduced episodes of malaria in infants and young children ...

Malaria vaccine shows promise: study

September 14, 2011

An experimental malaria vaccine tested on children in Burkina Faso has shown "a high level of efficacy" in protecting against the disease, a study published in the United States said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Tausch
not rated yet Jan 17, 2012
Until then, genetically alter the carriers wingspan asymmetrically. If the GM carriers runs amok to all other species, then all species' flight are reduced to circular patterns. Eradication is superfluous. The food chain intact.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.