The currently available malaria control tools have allowed malaria elimination in many regions but there remain many regions where malaria control has made little progress. A safe and protective malaria vaccine would be a huge asset for malaria control. Despite the many challenges, efforts continue to design and evaluate malaria vaccine candidates. These candidates target different stages in the life cycle of Plasmodia. The most advanced vaccine candidates target the pre-erythrocytic stages in the life cycle of the parasite and include RTS,S/AS01, which has progressed through clinical development to the stage that it may be licensed in 2015. Attenuated whole-parasite vaccine candidates are highly protective, but there are challenges to manufacture and to administration. Cellular immunity is targeted by the prime–boost approach. Because the inoculation of naked DNA triggers little immune response, the inoculation of DNA is followed with a recombinant viral vector to provide a heterologous boost. This theoretically intriguing approach has yet to translate into clinical efficacy. Candidates that target the blood stages of the parasite have to result in an immune response that is more effective than the response to an infection to abort or control the infection of merozoites and hence disease. Finally, the sexual stages of the parasite offer another target for vaccine development, which would prevent the transmission of malaria. Today it seems unlikely that any candidate targeting a single antigen will provide complete protection against an organism of the complexity of Plasmodium. A systematic search for vaccine targets and combinations of antigens may be a more promising approach.
After service in the British SAS Regiment the author became a physician and then an orthopaedic surgeon.
He has held professorial positions in Canada, Vietnam and the United States, practiced and taught orthopaedic surgery in three continents and in several wars.
He has extensive experience as an expert witness in court. Somewhere along the way, time was found to operate a four hundred acre mixed farm, a one hundred seat restaurant and to obtain a licence as a flying instructor.
The author's books are available from bookstores, the publishers, or from on-line bookstores such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indigo/Chapters.