Immune mechanisms in malaria: new insights in vaccine development

Nat Med. 2013 Feb;19(2):168-78. doi: 10.1038/nm.3083.


Early data emerging from the first phase 3 trial of a malaria vaccine are raising hopes that a licensed vaccine will soon be available for use in endemic countries, but given the relatively low efficacy of the vaccine, this needs to be seen as a major step forward on the road to a malaria vaccine rather than as arrival at the final destination. The focus for vaccine developers now moves to the next generation of malaria vaccines, but it is not yet clear what characteristics these new vaccines should have or how they can be evaluated. Here we briefly review the epidemiological and immunological requirements for malaria vaccines and the recent history of malaria vaccine development and then put forward a manifesto for future research in this area. We argue that rational design of more effective malaria vaccines will be accelerated by a better understanding of the immune effector mechanisms involved in parasite regulation, control and elimination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Malaria / immunology*
  • Malaria Vaccines / immunology*
  • Plasmodium / genetics
  • Plasmodium / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Vaccination


  • Malaria Vaccines