Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea, is playing an important role in the world of malaria research for an island roughly half the size of Rhode Island. It has been the home of the acclaimed Bioko Island Malaria Control Project (BIMCP) since 2004, and the Equatoguinean Malaria Vaccine Initiative (EGMVI) since 2014. Both are being coordinated by Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba, a 2017 Tutu Fellow.
The series of FDA clinical trials and scientific research capacity-building efforts are transforming Equatorial Guinea into a proving ground for a vaccine that could accelerate the world's elimination of malaria. An effective vaccine would be a game-changer.
EGMVI, as well as the Bioko Island Malaria Control Program, is a multi-million and a multi-year social investment funded by Marathon Oil Equatorial Guinea Production Limited. Since its inception in 2013, Mitoha has been instrumental in insuring the effective implementation of the EGMVI, doing advocacy work, stakeholder engagement within the country and internationally, in order to maintain alive the elimination goal.
The work he is doing has been recognised by the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in which he is included in a paper titled: Advancing Global Health through Development and Clinical Trials Partnerships: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Assessment of Safety, Tolerability, and Immunogenicity of Plasmodium falciparum Sporozoites Vaccine for Malaria
in Healthy Equatoguinean Men. The paper covers the implementation of the malaria control program on Bioko Island, along with the development of a vaccine that could lead to halting transmission and eliminating malaria. The vaccine is called Sanaria Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites and it was safe and well tolerated well by those who received it in the double-blind phase 1 trial and results were sufficiently promising for a phase II trial.
You can read more on the trial and vaccine at the American Journal of Tropical Medicine.