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A transmission-blocking vaccine (TBV) to prevent malaria-infected humans from infecting mosquitoes has been increasingly considered as a tool for malaria control and elimination. This study tested the hypothesis that a malaria TBV would be acceptable among residents of a malaria-hypoendemic region.
The study was carried out in six Spanish-speaking rural villages in the Department of Loreto in the Peruvian Amazon. These villages comprise a cohort of 430 households associated with the Peru-Brazil International Centre for Excellence in Malaria Research. Individuals from one-third (143) of enrolled households in an ongoing longitudinal, prospective cohort study in 6 communities in Loreto, Peru, were randomly selected to participate by answering a pre-validated questionnaire.
All 143 participants expressed desire for a malaria vaccine in general; only 1 (0.7%) expressed unwillingness to receive a transmission-blocking malaria vaccine. Injection was considered most acceptable for adults (97.2%); for children drops in the mouth were preferred (96.8%). Acceptability waned marginally with the prospect of multiple injections (83.8%) and different projected efficacies at 70 and 50% (90.1 and 71.8%, respectively). Respondents demonstrated clear understanding that the vaccine was for community, rather than personal, protection against malaria infection.
In this setting of the Peruvian Amazon, a transmission-blocking malaria vaccine was found to be almost universally acceptable. This study is the first to report that residents of a malaria-endemic region have been queried regarding a malaria vaccine strategy that policy-makers in the industrialized world often dismiss as altruistic.