Malaria Biologics

Soldier in the field

Malaria remains among the most significant infectious diseases facing U.S. Service Members deployed around the world. Infection with malaria is responsible for an estimated 5,300-21,000 lost work hours and $1.12-4.37 million per year in evacuation and medical care costs despite existing personal protective countermeasures like chemoprophylactic drugs, permethrin-impregnated uniforms, bed nets and unit preventive countermeasures like vector/environmental control (DEET) and education. These infections are largely driven by poor adherence to personal protective measures, chemoprophylaxis and rising regional drug resistance.

A safe, durable and efficacious malaria preventive will eliminate the burden of compliance and the associated side effects of daily or weekly chemoprophylaxis, overcome regional drug resistance to currently available antimalarials and provide an alternative to individuals with G6PD deficiency. Protection against malaria infection improves unit readiness and mission success.

MBB is an integrated, broad, translational enterprise spanning discovery science to field efficacy trials. Building off our historical experience developing malaria vaccines, our mission is to develop new vaccines and biologics in collaboration with global and U.S. government partners to reliably prevent malaria infection in military personnel by maintaining robust, expert competency in basic and applied research areas in order to transition candidate products to advanced clinical testing in endemic areas.

Research Areas

two Soldier scientists in a lab
Core Competencies

MBB researchers utilize a multidisciplinary approach with broad expertise in biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, parasitology, regulatory affairs, cGLP/cGMP, medicine and clinical trial execution to develop and refine products to prevent malaria infection.

researcher looks through microscope
Parasite Diversity

In addition to conducting basic science and product development, MBB conducts surveillance in partnership with WRAIR’s overseas laboratories to identify and isolate malaria parasites representative of the global diversity of circulating strains to inform antigen discovery, product development and malaria challenge models.

scientist using an assay to screen products
Discovery Program

MBB researchers discover, optimize and evaluate monoclonal antibodies, antigens and novel delivery platforms (including mRNA, TMV, nanoparticles, soluble protein and DNA) to develop a safe and efficacious product for the Warfighter. 

p vivax seen under a microscope
Malaria Models

MBB collaborates with Entomology to maintain the malaria parasite throughout its life cycle for use in pre-clinical and clinical studies, including the CHMI model to test a product's ability to protect against malaria. A leader in malaria research, MBB has successfully completed 35 clinical studies, including the world’s largest CHMI study ever conducted for the RTS,S candidate vaccine.

examining samples under a fume hood
Malaria Diagnostics

In conjunction with DLDM, MBB is validating a modified qRT PCR assay developed by collaborators at the University of Washington for the diagnosis of malaria infection in a CAP-certified laboratory. Use of this assay allows earlier and more sensitive detection of malaria infections in CHMI studies compared to traditional microscopy.

collecting samples from a participant for testing
International Reference Laboratories

MBB operates the Flow Cytometry Core and Malaria Serology Reference Laboratory to identify blood and immune biomarkers to facilitate the discovery and development of malaria countermeasures.