Use of VLPs in the design of malaria vaccines

David Whitacre, Diego Espinosa, Darrell Peterson, Fidel Zavala, David R. Milich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Malaria is the world’s most important tropical parasitic disease that kills more people than any other communicable disease with the exception of tuberculosis. The causative agents in humans are four species of Plasmodium protozoa: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae. Of these, P. falciparum accounts for the majority of infections and is the most lethal. Malaria is a public health problem today in more than 106 countries, inhabited by a total of 3.4 billion people-50% of the world’s population. Worldwide prevalence of the disease is estimated to be on the order of 135-287 million clinical cases each year. Mortality due to malaria is estimated to be in the range of 473,000-789,000 each year. The vast majority of deaths occur among young children in Africa, especially in remote rural areas with poor access to health services. Therefore, P. falciparum vaccine development has become a high research priority. The malaria parasite has 14 chromosomes, an estimated 5300 genes (many of which vary extensively between strains) and a complex 4-stage life cycle as it passes from a mosquito vector to humans and back again. Furthermore, the natural P. falciparum infection does not result in immunity, and partial immunity occurs only after years of recurring infections and illnesses. Therefore, a vaccine must outperform the immune response to the natural infection. This complexity has impeded vaccine development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationViral Nanotechnology
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781466583535
ISBN (Print)9781466583528
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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