Plasmodium falciparum is transmitted to a new host after completing its sexual cycle within a mosquito. Developing vaccines against the parasite sexual stages is a critical component in the fight against malaria. We are targeting multiple proteins of P. falciparum which are found only on the surfaces of the sexual forms of the parasite and where antibodies against these proteins have been shown to block the progression of the parasite's life cycle in the mosquito and thus block transmission to the next human host. We have successfully produced a region of the Pfs230 antigen in our plant-based transient-expression system and evaluated this vaccine candidate in an animal model. This plant-produced protein, 230CMB, is expressed at approximately 800 mg/kg in fresh whole leaf tissue and is 100% soluble. Administration of 230CMB with >90% purity induces strong immune responses in rabbits with high titers of transmission-blocking antibodies, resulting in a greater than 99% reduction in oocyst counts in the presence of complement, as determined by a standard membrane feeding assay. Our data provide a clear perspective on the clinical development of a Pfs230-based transmission-blocking malaria vaccine
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