MIMVaC-Africa initiative for an effective malaria vaccine

World Malaria Day:

MIMVaC-Africa initiative for an effective malaria vaccine

Ouagadougou, April 23, 2021.

MIMVaC-Africa is a large consortium of a dozen universities and institutes around the world committed to the search for vaccines for a malaria-free world. Launched in March 2020, this consortium, largely funded by the European Union through the EDCTP program, is coordinated by the Groupe de Recherche Action en Santé (GRAS) which is based in Ouagadougou.

April 25 is International Malaria Day. It is an opportunity for all humanity and all actors working in the field of health to reflect in depth on this tropical disease, more than tragic, which bereaves millions of families across the planet and in particular in sub-Saharan Africa.

To realize this, it is important to know that every two minutes, a child under the age of five (05) dies of malaria in Africa.

The latest WHO World Malaria Report (2020) has once again reviewed the major issues related to malaria over the past two decades. Despite the satisfactory results of 1.5 billion cases and 7.6 million deaths averted, progress unfortunately remains at a standstill. 228 million cases and 400,000 deaths are still occurring.

This report draws the attention of the world and policymakers with alarming numbers in Africa in particular. Of the 228 million cases in 2019 globally, about 94% of cases are on the continent. Women and children are the main victims. 11.6 million pregnant women living in 33 African countries (with moderate-high transmission), were infected with malaria (35% of all pregnancies).

A sad situation that leads to a high case fatality rate. About 95% of malaria deaths worldwide come from 31 countries. Nigeria (23%), the Democratic Republic of Congo (11%), the United Republic of Tanzania (5%), Mozambique (4%), Niger (4%), and Burkina Faso (4%) together account for about 51% of all malaria deaths worldwide in 2019.

In Burkina Faso, despite multiple efforts by the government, technical and financial partners, and the international community, malaria remains the main cause of consultations and mortality among children under five and pregnant women. It is the least affluent social strata that pay the heaviest price.

Considered as a disease of poverty, malaria greatly increases the impoverishment of our communities. Household expenses related to case management, loss of productivity, school and work absenteeism, dangerously weaken the purchasing power of the inhabitants.

Faced with this gloomy picture of malaria in Burkina Faso in particular and in sub-Saharan Africa in general, GRAS acts as a real actor in the fight against malaria through medical research in close collaboration with its national, sub-regional and international partners.

On the occasion of the World Malaria Day celebrated on April 25, 2021, the GRAS research institute would like to underline the important role it plays in health research, in this case in the search for an effective vaccine, the development of new generations of antimalarial drugs and the development of innovative strategies to improve access to diagnostic tools and effective antimalarial treatments. The institute is actively involved in the evaluation of a large part of the more than 20 vaccine candidates that are under study worldwide.

The solid experience and wealth of expertise of the men and women who make up GRAS, the quality of its results and the loyalty of its commitments have enabled it to build up a great deal of trust, thus forging quality partnerships at both national and international levels.

It is this intense activity that has led the institute to head the important Consortium called MIMVaC-Africa. This is a multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at fostering the clinical development of effective vaccine candidates against different stages of the malaria microbe. Results are expected by the end of 2025.

It is a large interdisciplinary coalition of leading vaccine developers, clinical trial experts, and malaria researchers from academia, industry, and NGOs. They are: Groupe de Recherche Action en Santé (GRAS) in Burkina Faso, Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL) in Gabon, Manhiça Foundation in Mozambique, Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) in Tanzania, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (EKUT) in Germany, Oxford University (The Chancellor, the Masters and the Scholars of the University of Oxford (UOXF) in the United Kingdom, the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) in Germany, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in the Netherlands, Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) in Luxembourg, and Osaka University in Japan.

Through Grant Agreement No. RIA2018SV-2310, MIMVaC-Africa receives financial support from EDCTP2 (European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership), an organization supported by European Union funding.

Vaccine candidates shortlisted for MIMVaC-Africa are

– Pre-erythrocytic vaccine candidates (Development phase in the liver of the malaria microbe)

– R21 combined with Matrix-M (product of Oxford University, UK)

– Chemically attenuated whole sporozoite vaccine; PfSPZ CVac (product of Sanaria, USA)

– ME-TRAP vectors (Oxford University, UK)

– Blood-stage candidates (the developmental phase in the blood of the malaria microbe)

– PfRH5 with Matrix-M adjuvant (University of Oxford, UK)

– NPC-SE36 with cpG adjuvant (from Osaka University, Japan).

Research on these different vaccine candidates is ongoing in the coalition structures, with the ambition and purpose of definitively solving the problem of malaria in the world.

GRAS takes this opportunity to reiterate its gratitude to the State of Burkina Faso through the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation and the Ministry of Health. It also extends this gratitude to all other national and international partners who accompany it in the daily implementation of its activities for the common fight for a world without malaria.

The Groupe de Recherche Action Santé (GRAS) is a biomedical research institute under private law in Burkina Faso, created in 2008 and accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation (MESRSI). It has agreements signed with the Ministry of Health and the National Center for Scientific and Technological Research (CNRST). The GRAS activities extend to many other pathologies that constitute a public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa such as: Shigellosis (bacillary dysentery), Bilharzia, Typhoid fever, Covid-19, etc.

Contacts :

Website: www.gras.bf; https://www.mimvac-africa.org/

email : gras@fasonet.bf

Tel: +226 25 35 56 90

Contact persons :

– Dr. Sodiomon Bienvenu SIRIMA, MIMVaC-Africa Coordinator, tel: 70200444, email: sirima@gras.bf

– Dr San Maurice OUATTARA, Project Manager MIMVaC-Africa, Tel : 70093351 Email : ouattara@gras.bf

Fire safety: The GRAS trains its staff

Conscious of the safety and well-being of its staff, the Groupe de Recherche Action en Santé (GRAS) offered fire safety training to several of its staff on Friday 11 June.

Since the institute’s building is fully equipped with a modern fire safety system, it is only natural that the workers should be able to master its operation in an optimal manner.
This training, according to the Director General, Dr Sodiomon B. Sirima, is only the first step in a process that should guarantee maximum safety for GRAS workers.

Journée mondiale de la Santé : le GRAS plus que jamais engagé

Chaque 7 Avril est consacré à la journée mondiale de la santé à travers le monde. C’est l’occasion pour l’ensemble des acteurs du système de santé de porter une réflexion particulière sur les défis et enjeux de l’Humanité pour son bien-être véritable. Les différents acteurs sont toujours sur le qui-vive pour porter un coup d’amélioration sur les nombreux problèmes de santé des Hommes et de la planète. Et dans ce combat, la place de la recherche reste fondamentale. C’est elle qui apporte la grande partie des solutions les plus efficaces.
C’est le but principal du Groupe de Recherche Action en Santé (GRAS), résolument engagé pour enrayer de nombreuses maladies tropicales et nouvelles qui freinent le développement.
En termes de vision, le GRAS ambitionne de devenir un pôle d’excellence dans la recherche biomédicale et opérationnelle en Afrique de l’Ouest. Pour ce faire, il se donne pour missions principales :
• contribuer par le biais de recherches innovantes en santé à la résolution des problèmes de santé publiques et par ricochet, à l’amélioration de la santé des populations,
• contribuer au renforcement des compétences des acteurs de la recherche en santé.
Le GRAS souhaite une bonne commémoration à l’ensemble de ses partenaires nationaux et internationaux.

Le DG du FONRID en visite au GRAS

Le directeur général du Fonds national de la Recherche et de l’Innovation pour le Développement (FONRID), le Dr Hamidou H. Tamboura et ses proches collaborateurs ont rendu une visite professionnelle au Groupe de Recherche Action en Santé (GRAS) ce mardi 24 mai dans l’après-midi.


Cette visite s’inscrit dans le cadre du renforcement des bonnes relations qui existent entre les deux structures partenaires. Le FONRID qui existe depuis plus d’une dizaine d’années a souhaité, à travers cette visite de terrain, mieux appréhender les réalités des structures partenaires de ses financements, à l’image du GRAS qui fait partie de ses 177 bénéficiaires actuels.

Après les différentes présentations des deux partenaires, les questions des collaborateurs ont permis d’apporter des informations supplémentaires dans les deux sens. Les chercheurs du GRAS se sont montrés intéressés par les formations et les modalités de financements des recherches. Les visiteurs ont par la suite parcouru les différents laboratoires du Groupe.

« Je voudrais, au nom de l’ensemble du personnel du FONRID, adresser mes très sincères félicitations et encouragements au GRAS. Mon souhait est que, non seulement, l’expérience réussissent et prospère, mais surtout qu’elle fasse des émules dans tout notre pays. », a noté Dr Tamboura dans le livre d’or du GRAS.

Le Directeur général du GRAS, le Dr Sodiomon Bienvenu Sirima et son personnel, ont remercié leurs hôtes de l’honneur dont leur entreprise a bénéficié par cette visite.

Visit of the Minister for Scientific Research and Innovation to GRAS

« I am pleasantly surprised »

The Minister Delegate, Mrs. Maminata Traoré/Coulibaly, visited the offices of the Group of Action Research in Health (GRAS) on Tuesday, February 2, as part of the series of visits to the various institutionsinvolved in her sector of activity.

The scientific director, Dr. Sodiomon Bienvenu Sirima and all his staff were mobilized to give a warm welcome to the new Minister Delegate, appointed since January 10.

After a masterly presentation of the GRAS institution, its activities, studies and programmes, as well as its partners, Dr Sirima opened the doors of the central units of the private research institution. The different compartments of the laboratory were presented to the Minister, who was simply « pleasantly surprised » at the existence of such a quality institution, especially in the private sector. It was then the opportunity to present to the distinguished guest the MIMVaC-Africa, which is an important consortium financed by EDCTP (EU) that GRAS has been coordinating since March 2020.

During her discussion with the managers and staff of GRAS, she warmly congratulated these actors who contribute so much to the influence of research in Burkina Faso. She hoped that the institution would work more with public research institutions and that it would be part of the presidential programme for a win-win collaboration.

In addition to her technical advisors, Mrs Maminata Traoré/Coulibaly was accompanied by the Director General of CNRST and ANVAR.