Dissection-independent production of a protective whole-sporozoite malaria vaccine

Joshua Blight, Katarzyna A. Sala, Erwan Atcheson, Holger Kramer, Aadil El-Turabi, Eliana Real, Farah A. Dahalan, Paulo Bettencourt, Emma Dickinson, Eduardo Alves, Ahmed M. Salman, Chris J. Janse, Frances Ashcroft, Adrian V. S. Hill, Arturo Reyes-Sandoval, Andrew M. Blagborough, Jake Baum

Research output: Working paperPreprint


Complete protection against human malaria challenge has been achieved using infected mosquitoes as the delivery route for immunization with Plasmodium parasites. Strategies seeking to replicate this efficacy with either a manufactured whole-parasite or subunit vaccine, however, have shown only limited success. A major roadblock to whole parasite vaccine progress and understanding of the human infective sporozoite form in general, is reliance on manual dissection for parasite isolation from infected mosquitoes. We report here the development of a four-step process based on whole mosquito homogenization, slurry and density-gradient filtration, combined with free-flow electrophoresis that is able to rapidly produce a pure, aseptic sporozoite inoculum from hundreds of mosquitoes. Murine P. berghei or human-infective P. falciparum sporozoites produced in this way are 2-3-fold more infective with in vitro hepatocytes and can confer sterile protection when immunized intravenously with subsequent challenge using a mouse malaria model. Critically, we can also demonstrate for the first time 60-70% protection when the same parasites are administered via intramuscular (i.m.) route. In developing a process amenable to industrialisation and demonstrating efficacy by i.m. route these data represent a major advancement in capacity to produce a whole parasite malaria vaccine at scale.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Plasmodium berghei
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Free-flow electrophoresis
  • Salivary gland dissection
  • Exoerythrocytic
  • Hepatocyte


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