The African Malaria Vaccine Testing Network (AMVTN), a network of African and European malaria researches supported by the INCO-DC programme, propose to hold three workshops in Africa on the Molecular Biology and Immunology of Malaria Vaccines. Their objective will be to keep young African molecular biologists and immunologists abreast of the latest developments in malaria vaccine research, and permit African and European malariologists to discuss future strategies for malaria vaccine development and testing in Africa with external immunologists and vaccine researchers.
The African Malaria Vaccine Testing Network (AMVTN) proposes to hold three Molecular Biology and Immunology of Malaria Vaccines Workshops in Africa, aimed at bringing a selected group of younger post-doctoral African scientists up-to-date with the latest developments in malaria vaccine research. This accompanying measure is linked to the Key Action 2 initiatives on the development of malaria vaccines and the INCO-DEV initiatives on the control of infectious disease in Africa. The teaching faculty for the workshops will be drawn from European groups involved in malaria vaccine research and development. The African scientists that the measure wishes to reach will be research institute, university and health ministry-based, trained in molecular biology and immunology, and either working in malaria vaccine research and testing or interested in becoming involved in such work.
The workshops will be held in different African research institutes, over a period of three years. They will seek to meet the demand noted on earlier AMVTN courses among younger African scientists for a higher-level course on the basic science underlying the development of particular types of malaria vaccine. Day 1 of each workshop will review current malaria epidemiology in Africa. The second and third day's theme will be the immunology of malaria vaccination, presenting the rationale behind pre-erythrocytic stage vaccination, immunisation against merozoite and eythrocyte surface antigens and vaccination against sexual stages of the parasite. The fourth and fifth day will concentrate on the molecular biology of the malaria parasite, immune evasion strategies, inherited differences between African populations in malaria susceptibility and molecular biological and immunological approaches towards testing function and immunogenicity. AMVTN also proposes to use these workshops as a forum for discussion between ‘front-line’ field malaria researchers and a more detached group of outside experts in basic immunology and vaccine research.
The workshops will strengthen European-African malaria research collaborations. Sixty young African scientists will be trained in the most up-to-date malaria vaccine research development. The workshop will strengthen the capability of African research institutions to support the efforts of national malaria control authorities, to assess realistically the progress of candidate malaria vaccines and how such vaccines might be tested under relevant local conditions.
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