The RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine is currently being evaluated in a cluster-randomized pilot implementation programme in three African countries. This study seeks to identify whether vaccination could reach additional children who are at risk from malaria but do not currently have access to, or use, core malaria interventions.
The RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine confers only moderate protection against malaria. Evidence suggests that the effectiveness of the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine depends upon the parasite population genetics, specifically regarding the circumsporozoite protein haplotypes in the population. We investigated Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (PfCSP) gene sequences from two endemic sites in 2018 in Senegal.
RTS,S/AS01 is an advanced pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine candidate with demonstrated vaccine efficacy up to 86.7% in controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) studies; however, reproducible immune correlates of protection (CoP) are elusive. To identify candidates of humoral correlates of vaccine mediated protection, we measured antibody magnitude, subclass, and avidity for Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) circumsporozoite protein (CSP) by multiplex assays in two CHMI studies with varying RTS,S/AS01B vaccine dose and timing regimens.
The most advanced P. falciparum circumsporozoite protein-based malaria vaccine, RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S), confers partial protection but with antibody titers that wane relatively rapidly, highlighting the need to elicit more potent and durable antibody responses. Here, we elucidate crystal structures, binding affinities and kinetics, and in vivo protection of eight anti-NANP antibodies derived from an RTS,S phase 2a trial and encoded by three different heavy-chain germline genes.
In the phase III RTS,S /AS01 trial, significant heterogeneity in efficacy of the vaccine across study sites was seen. Question on whether variations in socio - economic status (SES) of participant contributed to the heterogeinity of the vaccine efficacy (VE) remains unknown.
Extensive genetic diversity in the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (PfCSP) is a major contributing factor to the moderate efficacy of the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine. The transmission intensity and rates of recombination within and between populations influence the extent of its genetic diversity. Understanding the extent and dynamics of PfCSP genetic diversity in different transmission settings will help to interpret the results of current RTS,S efficacy and Phase IV implementation trials conducted within and between populations in malaria-endemic areas such as Ghana.
Anti-circumsporozoite antibody titres have been established as an essential indicator for evaluating the immunogenicity and protective capacity of the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine.