Malaria Vaccine Research

Malaria is a devastating vector-borne disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite, resulting in almost 0.5 million casualties per year. At Statens Serum Institut (SSI), we are developing malaria vaccines to children and adults in malaria endemic areas.

Malaria is one of the leading causes of death in children under five years and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide there are an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 2016 and 445,000 deaths. The malaria epidemic is responsible for a cycle of poverty and illness that affects families, communities and even countries.

New tools such as malaria vaccine(s) are needed to stop the spread of malaria and eventually achieve eradication. At Statens Serum Institut we are developing a malaria vaccine which aims to block the transmission of Plasmodium parasites from the human host to the mosquito vector, 

Malaria Transmission Blocking Vaccine

Malaria Transmission Blocking Vaccine (MTBV) aims to induce antibodies that together with infective parasites are taken up by the blood-feeding mosquito and that subsequently prevent development of parasites in the mosquito midgut. If successful, this will block the transmission of Plasmodium parasites from the human host to the mosquito vector, thereby reducing the spread of malaria within an endemic population. Three proteins, Pfs25, Pfs230, and Pfs48/45 are currently targeted as lead candidates for a MTBV. Of these, Pfs48/45 and Pfs230 are expressed in gametocytes in the human host and on the surface of gametes in the infected mosquito. In contrast, Pfs25 is exclusively expressed in the infected mosquito.

Multi-komponent multi-stage malaria vaccine

The long term goal of our research is to develop a multi-component malaria vaccine which include components from the different parasite stages. A multi-stage vaccine would be a stronger public health tool than single-stage vaccines since such vaccine would provide not only direct personal protection but also considerably reduce parasite transmission and risk of infection.


Malaria is a vector-borne parasitic disease with asexual proliferation in the human host (malaria attack) and a sexual proliferation in the vector mosquito.

The most serious form of malaria is due to the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which caused approximately 500,000 deaths in 2017. Of these, approximately 95% occurred among children under five years in sub-Saharan Africa.

Malaria control consists of rapid diagnosis and treatment. Impregnated mosquito nets and mosquito repellent are an important component to break transmission from mosquitoes to humans. 

Although there has been a decrease in the number of malaria cases over the past decade, it is commonly assumed that malaria cannot be eradicated with current strategies. An effective vaccine against malaria is therefore a highly sought after target. For several years, SSI researchers have led the clinical development of a malaria vaccine.



Michael Theisen


Michael Theisen
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