Research and development into whole organism malaria vaccines is progressing rapidly thanks to the major investments over recent years from several funders, and the commitment and interest of many leading researchers. Progress includes the discovery of potential new candidate vaccines and the start of the first phase 1/2a clinical trial of the radiation attenuated sporozoite approach for Plasmodium falciparum, under US Food and Drug Administration regulatory oversight. A group of leading scientists, clinical trialists and stakeholders, together with representatives of regulatory authorities including some from African countries, met recently to document the issues that will require detailed consideration to assess this promising approach. Questions related to scale-up, quality, purity and consistency of a manufacturing process using mosquitoes to generate a commercial product, and demonstration of the stability of attenuated sporozoites will need further work. Should a high level of efficacy be demonstrated in clinical challenge studies, it will become a priority to agree in which populations and age groups questions about strain-transcendence and duration of efficacy should be answered, and how clinical development can progress with an approach based on cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen.
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