Toward the development of effective transmission-blocking vaccines for malaria.
Nikolaeva D., Draper SJ., Biswas S.
The continued global burden of malaria can in part be attributed to a complex lifecycle, with both human hosts and mosquito vectors serving as transmission reservoirs. In preclinical models of vaccine-induced immunity, antibodies to parasite sexual-stage antigens, ingested in the mosquito blood meal, can inhibit parasite survival in the insect midgut as judged by ex vivo functional studies such as the membrane feeding assay. In an era of renewed political momentum for malaria elimination and eradication campaigns, such observations have fueled support for the development and implementation of so-called transmission-blocking vaccines. While leading candidates are being evaluated using a variety of promising vaccine platforms, the field is also beginning to capitalize on global '-omics' data for the rational genome-based selection and unbiased characterization of parasite and mosquito proteins to expand the candidate list. This review covers the progress and prospects of these recent developments.