Malaria remains an internationally leading cause of ill health and poverty. There is no efficacious vaccine available, and recent progress in malaria control is jeopardized by drug resistance, failing insecticides, and inadequate health infrastructures in affected areas. New vaccines designed to protect residents in malaria-endemic areas would be an extremely cost-effective tool to improve this situation.
The objective of this 5-year project is to contribute significantly ti the development of malaria vaccines designed specifically for Africa; a high international priority. Our project is based on innovative strategies and understudied antigens, and is largely built on evidence obtained by research involving the scientists leading the project; research that has already led to a pioneering vaccine against placental malaria, which is currently in clinical trials in Africa. The MAVARECA-II senior scientists and their institutions have strong track records in malaria research and research-based education.
The project design is based on our decades-long experience with collaborative research and capacity building in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. It involves novel biotechnologies that will be transferred to the partner in Ghana as an important element. The project is fully aligned with the strategy recently adopted by University of Ghana to increase the competitiveness of the University in malaria research and education. It furthermore underpins the engagement of participating University of Copenhagen scientists in the ongoing institutional research capacity strengthening at University of Ghana as part of the Building Stronger Universities initiative.
At the end of the project, we expect to have forwarded several novel malaria vaccine candidates to clinical trial stage. In the process, we will have markedly strengthened the capacity for international level malaria research at University of Ghana, and initiated new South-South collaborations.