The Role of the Rockefeller Foundation in Malaria Vaccine Research, 1970s-1980s

May 28, 2024 | by
  • Description

Over the 1970s, scientists finally began to make significant headway in the creation of a malaria vaccine. New developments such as hybridoma technology, recombinant DNA, and the ability to cultivate continuous cultures of malaria parasites in vivo spurred enthusiasm among scientists that they could finally create the first vaccine against a parasitic disease. A new influx of funding into parasitic disease research during this decade accelerated scientific discoveries related to malaria vaccines. The Rockefeller Foundation's Health Sciences Division, led by Dr. Kenneth Warren from 1977 to 1988, contributed significantly to this acceleration by sponsoring cutting edge research on malaria immunology and biology as part of a new "Great Neglected Diseases of Mankind" program. This report examines the role of the Rockefeller Foundation in stimulating research around malaria vaccines and related areas of malaria immunology and molecular biology, and the effects its funding had on scientists, scientific institutions, and populations in malaria endemic regions. While an effective malaria vaccine did not materialize as quickly as the scientific community had hoped, the Rockefeller Foundation nonetheless played a substantial role in raising the profile of malaria vaccines and vaccine research.