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Despite ongoing efforts, a highly effective vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum remains elusive. Vaccines targeting the pre-erythrocytic stages of the P. falciparum life cycle are the most advanced to date, affording moderate levels of efficacy in field trials. However, the discovery that the members of the merozoite PfRH5-PfCyRPA-PfRipr (RCR) complex are capable of inducing strain-transcendent neutralizing antibodies has renewed enthusiasm for the possibility of preventing disease by targeting the parasite during the blood stage of infection. With Phase I/II clinical trials now underway using first-generation vaccines against PfRH5, and more on the horizon for PfCyRPA and PfRipr, this review explores the rationale and future potential of the RCR complex as a P. falciparum vaccine target.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Parasitol

Publication Date





545 - 559


CyRPA, Plasmodium falciparum, RH5, Ripr, erythrocyte invasion, malaria vaccine