Controlled Human Malaria Infection in Semi-Immune Kenyan Adults (CHMI-SIKA): a study protocol to investigate in vivo Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite growth in the context of pre-existing immunity

Wellcome Open Res. 2019 Nov 14:3:155. doi: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.14909.2. eCollection 2018.


Malaria remains a major public health burden despite approval for implementation of a partially effective pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine. There is an urgent need to accelerate development of a more effective multi-stage vaccine. Adults in malaria endemic areas may have substantial immunity provided by responses to the blood stages of malaria parasites, but field trials conducted on several blood-stage vaccines have not shown high levels of efficacy. We will use the controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) models with malaria-exposed volunteers to identify correlations between immune responses and parasite growth rates in vivo. Immune responses more strongly associated with control of parasite growth should be prioritized to accelerate malaria vaccine development. We aim to recruit up to 200 healthy adult volunteers from areas of differing malaria transmission in Kenya, and after confirming their health status through clinical examination and routine haematology and biochemistry, we will comprehensively characterize immunity to malaria using >100 blood-stage antigens. We will administer 3,200 aseptic, purified, cryopreserved Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites (PfSPZ Challenge) by direct venous inoculation. Serial quantitative polymerase chain reaction to measure parasite growth rate in vivo will be undertaken. Clinical and laboratory monitoring will be undertaken to ensure volunteer safety. In addition, we will also explore the perceptions and experiences of volunteers and other stakeholders in participating in a malaria volunteer infection study. Serum, plasma, peripheral blood mononuclear cells and whole blood will be stored to allow a comprehensive assessment of adaptive and innate host immunity. We will use CHMI in semi-immune adult volunteers to relate parasite growth outcomes with antibody responses and other markers of host immunity. Registration: identifier NCT02739763.

Keywords: Kenya; PfSPZ Challenge; Plasmodium falciparum; blood-stage; controlled human malaria infection; immunity; parasite growth; quantitative PCR.

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