Challenges of Assessing the Clinical Efficacy of Asexual Blood-Stage Plasmodium Falciparum Malaria Vaccines

Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2013 Sep;9(9):1831-40. doi: 10.4161/hv.25383. Epub 2013 Jun 18.


In the absence of any highly effective vaccine candidate against Plasmodium falciparum malaria, it remains imperative for the field to pursue all avenues that may lead to the successful development of such a formulation. The development of a subunit vaccine targeting the asexual blood-stage of Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection has proven particularly challenging with only limited success to date in clinical trials. However, only a fraction of potential blood-stage vaccine antigens have been evaluated as targets, and a number of new promising candidate antigen formulations and delivery platforms are approaching clinical development. It is therefore essential that reliable and sensitive methods of detecting, or ruling out, even modest efficacy of blood-stage vaccines in small clinical trials be established. In this article we evaluate the challenges facing blood-stage vaccine developers, assess the appropriateness and limitations of various in vivo approaches for efficacy assessment and suggest future directions for the field.

Keywords: clinical; efficacy; falciparum; malaria; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Humans
  • Malaria Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Malaria Vaccines / immunology*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / immunology*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / prevention & control*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / immunology*


  • Malaria Vaccines