As the Malaria Vaccine Project has now raised over $200,000 this means Dr Michael Good and his team at Griffith University, Institute for Glycomics can now commence the planning process for the clinical trial and undertake the test of the first dose of the vaccine.
The vaccine, PlasProtecT, is made by culturing malaria parasites and then treating them with a drug in vitro to irreversibly stop them from growing. Our plan is to administer three inoculations of treated parasites to 12 volunteers. Initially we will administer 30,000,000 parasites with each dose. Our first goal is to assess whether the vaccine stimulates a population of white blood cells, called T-cells, which we know are capable of killing the parasite. With further funding we will then test lower doses of attenuated parasites (3,000,000 and then 300,000) and build a comprehensive data package that will be critical for regulatory approval to enable further testing of the vaccine in malaria-endemic countries.
If the T-cells have been stimulated by the vaccine the volunteers will be given a live malaria infection and, under very close medical supervision, we will assess how the immune system controls parasite growth. Our future goal is to test the vaccine in a malaria-endemic country and we will consider Papua New Guinea and Uganda as places to test the vaccine. Malaria is highly endemic in these countries and we have excellent collaborative networks in both places to facilitate these future trials.
Dr Good and his team are extremely grateful to Rotary and the many supporters who have contributed to this effort and remain very confident that we are on the right track and that the vaccine will be effective!