WHO updates malaria roadmap with 2030 vaccine goals

When the World Health Organization (WHO) released its first malaria vaccine technology roadmap in 2006, it put the development of a partly effective vaccine by 2015 at the top of its list of priorities. With GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) nearing that goal, WHO has revised its plan with new targets for 2030.

The updated roadmap includes two new headline targets for 2030: development of highly effective malaria vaccines and creation of shots that enable the elimination of the disease in multiple settings. The WHO criteria for a highly effective vaccine is a protective efficacy rate of 75%. This builds on its 2015 goal, which called for development of a vaccine that is 50% effective against severe disease and death for at least one year.

Widespread use of a partly effective vaccine--which GSK's RTS,S could become--will help reduce the burden of a disease that currently kills 1,800 people every day. WHO wants to go further still, though. It is now prioritizing development of vaccines that cut incidence of malaria by slowing transmission of the parasite. The goal by 2030 is to have vaccines that can eliminate malaria in multiple settings. WHO views the twin-vaccine goals as a blueprint for biopharma companies developing second-generation vaccines.

Developers will receive further details of what WHO wants next year when the public health agency posts two preferred product characteristics documents. In the meantime, WHO has given an outline of its goals by publishing the two headline vaccine targets and updating its broader list of priority areas. The revised list increases the focus on advancing new candidate vaccine antigens into proof-of-concept clinical trials and calls for the publication of all data from such studies within one year of the last visit of the last subject.

- check out the new roadmap (PDF)
- read the WHO release
- and its letter to The Lancet