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The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) recently named some of the worlds most eminent malaria scientists and vaccinologists to its Vaccine Science Portfolio Advisory Council (VSPAC)a group of external experts tasked with providing strategic input and advice on the MVIs scientific portfolio and overall research and development (R&D) program. MVI is driving the development of safe and effective vaccines for the fight against malariaa disease that still kills more than 500,000 children under age 5 every year. Half the worlds population remains at risk of contracting malaria.
The new members of the VSPAC are: Dr. Norman Baylor, president and CEO of Biologics Consulting Group, Inc. and former director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review (OVRR) in the Food and Drug Administrations Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research; Dr. Kamini Mendis, an independent consultant on malaria and tropical medicine, formerly the coordinator of Malaria Treatment and Malaria Elimination at the World Health Organization; Dr. Rafick-Pierre SÃ©kaly, co-director and chief scientific officer of VGTI Florida; and Dr. Fidel Zavala, professorÂ in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University.
Were fortunate to have some of the worlds most distinguished scientists advising us on MVIs malaria vaccine research and development strategy, says Dr. David C. Kaslow, director of MVI and former chair of the VSPAC. The expertise of the VSPAC members is a critical resource to realizing our near-term strategic goal of supporting development of a first-generation malaria vaccine that could protect millions against disease and death, as well as our long-term goals of developing more highly effective second-generation vaccines, including vaccines to support future elimination and eradication efforts.
From early-stage projects in the laboratory to those in the final phases of testing, MVI has a robust pipeline of vaccine projects for controlling and, ultimately, eradicating malaria. MVI partners with companies, governments, and organizations to advance and invest in only the most promising vaccine candidates. The work of the VSPAC is a vital part of a comprehensive portfolio management system that ensures that only the most promising projects will move forward. The VSPAC provides expert and independent advice on the vaccine portfolio and helps MVI make decisions about the most effective ways to use its resources.
VSPAC members represent the research, product development, and public health communities, both private and public sectors, and six of the worlds continents. New members are appointed by the MVI Leadership Team, in consultation with the new VSPAC chair, Dr. Brendan Crabb.Â
The other current members of the VSPAC are: professor Fred Binka, project manager for the INDEPTH Network Malaria Clinical Trials Alliance (MCTA) in Accra, Ghana; Dr. John Boslego, director of PATHs other vaccine development program; Dr. Brendan Crabb, malaria researcher and CEO of Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health; Dr. Tom Monath, a partner at the Pandemic and Biodefense Fund at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Dr. Rino Rappuoli, global head of vaccines research for Novartis Vaccines; Dr. David Salisbury, director of immunization at the UK Department of Health; and Dr. Kathryn C. Zoon, director of the Division of Intramural Research (DIR) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH).