Calibration of an Intrahost Malaria Model and Parameter Ensemble Evaluation of a Pre-Erythrocytic Vaccine

January 7, 2015


Methods The EMOD model is an individual-based model of malaria transmission dynamics, including vector lifecycles and species-specific behaviour, coupled to a mechanistic intrahost model of malaria parasite and host immune system dynamics. The present work describes the extension of the EMOD model to include diagnoses of severe malaria and iterative calibration of the immune system parameters and parasite antigenic variation to age-stratified prevalence, incidence and severe disease incidence data obtained from multiple regions with broadly varying transmission conditions in Africa. An ensemble of calibrated model parameter sets is then employed to evaluate the potential impact of routine immunization with a pre-erythrocytic vaccine.

EIR-dependent reduction in relative (top) and total (bottom) incidence of severe (left) and clinical (right) malaria; incidence, per 1,000 children over the first ten years of life, for both vaccine models. The lines follow the median output value from the ensemble of model parameters, and shaded areas outline the 68% quantiles.

Results: The reduction in severe malaria burden exhibits a broad peak at moderate transmission conditions. Under sufficiently intense transmission, a vaccine that reduces but does not eliminate the probability of acquisition from a single challenge bite may delay infections but produces minimal or no net reduction. Conversely, under sufficiently weak transmission conditions, a vaccine can provide a high fractional reduction but avert a relatively low absolute number of cases due to low baseline burden. Conclusions Roll-out of routine immunization with pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccines can provide substantial burden reduction across a range of transmission conditions typical to many regions in Africa.