Introduction: Highly effective malaria vaccines are essential component toward malaria elimination. Although the leading malaria vaccine, RTS,S/AS01, with modest efficacy is being evaluated in a pilot feasibility trial, development of a malaria transmission-blocking vaccine (TBV) could make a major contribution toward malaria elimination. Only a few TBV antigens have reached pre-clinical or clinical development but with several challenges including difficulties in the expression of malaria recombinant proteins and low immunogenicity in humans. Therefore, novel approaches to accelerate TBV research to preclinical development are critical to generate an efficacious TBV.Areas covered: PubMed was searched to review the progress and future prospects of malaria TBV research and development. We also reviewed registered trials at ClinicalTrials.gov as well as post-genome TBV candidate discovery research including our efforts.Expert opinion: Wheat germ cell-free protein synthesis technology can accelerate TBV development by overcoming some current challenges of TBV research.
Keywords: Malaria; Plasmodium falciparum; post-genome; transmission-blocking vaccine; wheat germ cell-free protein synthesis system.