A mathematical model of the impact of present and future malaria vaccines

April 15, 2013


With the encouraging advent of new malaria vaccine candidates, mathematical modelling of expected impacts of present and future vaccines as part of multi-intervention strategies is especially relevant.


The impact of potential malaria vaccines is presented utilizing the EMOD model, a comprehensive model of the vector life cycle coupled to a detailed mechanistic representation of intra-host parasite and immune dynamics. Values of baseline transmission and vector feeding behaviour parameters are identified, for which local elimination is enabled by layering pre-erythrocytic vaccines of various efficacies on top of high and sustained insecticide-treated net coverage. The expected reduction in clinical cases is further explored in a scenario that targets children by adding a pre-erythrocytic vaccine to the EPI programme for newborns.


At high transmission, there is a minimal reduction in clinical disease cases, as the time to infection is only slightly delayed. At lower transmission, there is an accelerating community-level protection that has subtle dependences on heterogeneities in vector behaviour, ecology, and intervention coverage. At very low transmission, the trend reverses as many children are vaccinated to prevent few cases.


The maximum-impact setting is one in which the impact of increasing bed net coverage has saturated, vector feeding is primarily outdoors, and transmission is just above the threshold where small perturbations from a vaccine intervention result in large community benefits.