Malaria Vaccines: Recent Advances and New Horizons

A special issue of Microorganisms (ISSN 2076-2607). This special issue belongs to the section "Parasitology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020) | Viewed by 6080

Special Issue Editor

Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA
Interests: malaria; protozoa; HIV; vaccine; cell-mediated immunity; adjuvant
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Malaria is a severe disease that still ranks among the most prevalent infections throughout the world, particularly in tropical areas. In 2017, there were 219 million cases of malaria, with 435,000 people, mainly children in Africa, dying of malaria. Malaria infection starts when mosquitoes inject sporozoites through the skin. The parasites enter the bloodstream, and after reaching the liver, develop into exo-erythrocytic forms (EEFs) inside hepatocytes. The EEFs mature and then divide rapidly to form thousands of merozoites that re-enter the blood and infect erythrocytes, causing the disease we recognize as malaria. The current widespread occurrence and increasing incidence of malaria are primarily caused by drug-resistant parasites (Plasmodium falciparum, recently also P. vivax), insecticide-resistant vectors (Anopheles mosquitoes), and economic/political deterioration in affected countries. These underscore the need for developing new methods for the control of this disease, including, in particular, an effective vaccine. However, one complication is that during its life cycle, the parasite undergoes many changes, each associated with a diverse set of stage-specific protective antigens. Most current vaccine efforts are directed against the pre-erythrocytic stages (sporozoites and EEFs) and blood stages. These vaccines aim at preventing the progression of the life cycle of the parasites or decreasing the severity of the disease. Other vaccines target the mosquito stages of the parasite and aim for the interruption of malaria transmission. Due to the fact that the life cycle of malaria parasites is highly complex, for example, undergoing both extracellular and intracellular phases in its host, mobilization of both the humoral and cellular arms of immune responses is critical to fight against this parasitic infection. This further complicates vaccination strategies and requires approaches beyond conventional means. This Special Issue is calling for submission of original research papers and review articles that deal with recent advances and new horizons with regard to malaria vaccine development. It is our hope that your contribution to this Special Issue will boost the advancement of the field of malaria vaccine development and ultimately lead to the discovery of a novel malaria vaccine that could not only save lives but eventually eradicate this globally devastating infectious disease.

Prof. Dr. Moriya Tsuji
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • malaria
  • vaccine
  • life cycle
  • pre-erythrocytic stages
  • blood stages
  • mosquito stages
  • malaria transmission
  • immune responses

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 2021 KiB  
Article
A Multistage Formulation Based on Full-Length CSP and AMA-1 Ectodomain of Plasmodium vivax Induces High Antibody Titers and T-cells and Partially Protects Mice Challenged with a Transgenic Plasmodium berghei Parasite
Microorganisms 2020, 8(6), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8060916 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2733
Abstract
Infections with Plasmodium vivax are predominant in the Americas, representing 75% of malaria cases. Previously perceived as benign, malaria vivax is, in fact, a highly debilitating and economically important disease. Considering the high complexity of the malaria parasite life cycle, it has been [...] Read more.
Infections with Plasmodium vivax are predominant in the Americas, representing 75% of malaria cases. Previously perceived as benign, malaria vivax is, in fact, a highly debilitating and economically important disease. Considering the high complexity of the malaria parasite life cycle, it has been hypothesized that an effective vaccine formulation against Plasmodium should contain multiple antigens expressed in different parasite stages. Based on that, we analyzed a recombinant P. vivax vaccine formulation mixing the apical membrane antigen 1 ectodomain (PvAMA-1) and a full-length circumsporozoite protein (PvCSP-AllFL) previously studied by our group, which elicits a potent antibody response in mice. Genetically distinct strains of mice (C57BL/6 and BALB/c) were immunized with the proteins, alone or in combination, in the presence of poly(I:C) adjuvant, a TLR3 agonist. In C57BL/6, high-antibody titers were induced against PvAMA-1 and the three PvCSP variants (VK210, VK247, and P. vivax-like). Meanwhile, mixing PvAMA-1 with PvCSP-AllFL had no impact on total IgG antibody titers, which were long-lasting. Moreover, antibodies from immunized mice recognized VK210 sporozoites and blood-stage parasites by immunofluorescence assay. However, in the BALB/c model, the antibody response against PvCSP-AllFL was relatively low. PvAMA-1-specific CD3+CD4+ and CD3+CD8+ T-cell responses were observed in C57BL/6 mice, and the cellular response was impaired by PvCSP-AllFL combination. More relevant, the multistage vaccine formulation provided partial protection in mice challenged with a transgenic Plasmodium berghei sporozoite expressing the homologous PvCSP protein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Malaria Vaccines: Recent Advances and New Horizons)
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Review

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21 pages, 1736 KiB  
Review
Diversify and Conquer: The Vaccine Escapism of Plasmodium falciparum
Microorganisms 2020, 8(11), 1748; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8111748 - 07 Nov 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2803
Abstract
Over the last century, a great deal of effort and resources have been poured into the development of vaccines to protect against malaria, particularly targeting the most widely spread and deadly species of the human-infecting parasites: Plasmodium falciparum. Many of the known [...] Read more.
Over the last century, a great deal of effort and resources have been poured into the development of vaccines to protect against malaria, particularly targeting the most widely spread and deadly species of the human-infecting parasites: Plasmodium falciparum. Many of the known proteins the parasite uses to invade human cells have been tested as vaccine candidates. However, precisely because of the importance and immune visibility of these proteins, they tend to be very diverse, and in many cases redundant, which limits their efficacy in vaccine development. With the advent of genomics and constantly improving sequencing technologies, an increasingly clear picture is emerging of the vast genomic diversity of parasites from different geographic areas. This diversity is distributed throughout the genome and includes most of the vaccine candidates tested so far, playing an important role in the low efficacy achieved. Genomics is a powerful tool to search for genes that comply with the most desirable attributes of vaccine targets, allowing us to evaluate function, immunogenicity and also diversity in the worldwide parasite populations. Even predicting how this diversity might evolve and spread in the future becomes possible, and can inform novel vaccine efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Malaria Vaccines: Recent Advances and New Horizons)
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