Photo credit: Mike Wang/PATH

Monoclonal antibodies have the potential to offer high-level protection against infection and transmission.

MVI is developing innovative tools with potential to offer high-level protection against infection and onward transmission—monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). 

mAbs have been shown to be effective tools in fighting infectious disease in young children, and research is ongoing to explore their utility in the fight against malaria. Both anti-infection and transmission blocking mAbs are being evaluated and initial clinical data are encouraging. These biologic tools are likely to have greatest utility in highly seasonal settings by providing potent, short-term protection. Anti-infection mAbs may also have utility in preventing malaria in pregnancy where current tools are insufficient. 

One of the potential benefits of mAbs is that they could be given as a single shot, and primarily before periods of risk during times of high transmission. In highly seasonal settings, where most of the malaria occurs over four to five months, a single monoclonal antibody shot could be administered just before the malaria season and provide protection for the whole season. 

Compared to vaccines, mAbs could potentially have higher efficacy. mAbs are administered directly into the body (versus "asking” the body to develop an antibody, as with a vaccine). That removes several variables related to how a particular person might respond to a vaccine, which can vary from person to person.