Malaria, which is the result of Plasmodium falciparum infection, is a global health threat that resulted in 655,000 deaths and 216 million clinical cases in 2010 alone. Recent phase 3 trials with malaria vaccine candidate RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) in children has demonstrated modest efficacy against clinical and severe malaria. RTS,S targets the pre-erythrocytic phase of the disease and induces high antibody titers against the P. falciparum circumsporozoite protein (CSP) and a moderate CD4+ T cell response. The individual contribution of these adaptive immune responses to protection from infection remains unknown. Here, we found that prophylactic administration of anti-CSP mAbs derived from an RTS,S-vaccinated recipient fully protected mice with humanized livers from i.v.- and mosquito bite–delivered P. falciparum sporozoite challenge. Titers of anti-CSP that conveyed full protection were within the range observed in human RTS,S vaccine recipients. Increasing anti-CSP titers resulted in a dose-dependent reduction of the liver parasite burden. These data indicate that RTS,S-induced antibodies are protective and provide sterilizing immunity against P. falciparum infection when reaching or exceeding a critical plasma concentration.
Lander Foquet, Cornelus C. Hermsen, Geert-Jan van Gemert, Eva Van Braeckel, Karin E. Weening, Robert Sauerwein, Philip Meuleman, Geert Leroux-Roels