A universal vaccine candidate against Plasmodium vivax malaria confers protective immunity against the three PvCSP alleles

Sci Rep. 2021 Sep 9;11(1):17928. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-96986-1.


Malaria is a highly prevalent parasitic disease in regions with tropical and subtropical climates worldwide. Among the species of Plasmodium causing human malaria, P. vivax is the second most prevalent and the most geographically widespread species. A major target of a pre-erythrocytic vaccine is the P. vivax circumsporozoite protein (PvCSP). In previous studies, we fused two recombinant proteins representing three allelic variants of PvCSP (VK210, VK247 and P. vivax-like) to the mumps virus nucleocapsid protein to enhance immune responses against PvCSP. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the protective efficacy of these recombinants in mice challenged with transgenic P. berghei parasites expressing PvCSP allelic variants. Formulations containing Poly (I:C) or Montanide ISA720 as adjuvants elicited high and long-lasting IgG antibody titers specific to each PvCSP allelic variant. Immunized mice were challenged with two existing chimeric P. berghei parasite lines expressing PvCSP-VK210 and PvCSP-VK247. We also developed a novel chimeric line expressing the third allelic variant, PvCSP-P. vivax-like, as a new murine immunization-challenge model. Our formulations conferred partial protection (significant delay in the time to reach 1% parasitemia) against challenge with the three chimeric parasites. Our results provide insights into the development of a vaccine targeting multiple strains of P. vivax.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Alleles*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / immunology
  • Female
  • Immunity, Humoral*
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Malaria Vaccines / chemistry
  • Malaria Vaccines / immunology*
  • Malaria, Vivax / parasitology
  • Malaria, Vivax / prevention & control*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Animal
  • Organisms, Genetically Modified
  • Plasmodium berghei / genetics
  • Plasmodium berghei / immunology
  • Plasmodium berghei / metabolism
  • Plasmodium vivax / immunology*
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics*
  • Protozoan Proteins / immunology*
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Vaccination / methods*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Malaria Vaccines
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • circumsporozoite protein, Protozoan