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Experience and challenges from clinical trials with malaria vaccines in Africa

Grace Mwangoka1*, Bernhards Ogutu2, Beverly Msambichaka1, Tutu Mzee1, Nahya Salim1, Shubis Kafuruki1, Maxmillian Mpina1, Seif Shekalaghe1, Marcel Tanner3 and Salim Abdulla1

Author Affiliations

1 Ifakara Health Institute, Ifakara, Tanzania

2 Malaria Clinical Trials Alliance (MCTA), INDEPTH Network, Accra, Ghana

3 Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland

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Malaria Journal 2013, 12:86  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-12-86

Published: 4 March 2013


Malaria vaccines are considered amongst the most important modalities for potential elimination of malaria disease and transmission. Research and development in this field has been an area of intense effort by many groups over the last few decades. Despite this, there is currently no licensed malaria vaccine. Researchers, clinical trialists and vaccine developers have been working on many approached to make malaria vaccine available.

African research institutions have developed and demonstrated a great capacity to undertake clinical trials in accordance to the International Conference on Harmonization-Good Clinical Practice (ICH-GCP) standards in the last decade; particularly in the field of malaria vaccines and anti-malarial drugs. This capacity is a result of networking among African scientists in collaboration with other partners; this has traversed both clinical trials and malaria control programmes as part of the Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP). GMAP outlined and support global strategies toward the elimination and eradication of malaria in many areas, translating in reduction in public health burden, especially for African children. In the sub-Saharan region the capacity to undertake more clinical trials remains small in comparison to the actual need.

However, sustainability of the already developed capacity is essential and crucial for the evaluation of different interventions and diagnostic tools/strategies for other diseases like TB, HIV, neglected tropical diseases and non-communicable diseases. There is urgent need for innovative mechanisms for the sustainability and expansion of the capacity in clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa as the catalyst for health improvement and maintained.

Malaria; Vaccines; Clinical trials; Experiences; Challenges; Africa