Beginning in the mid-1980s a number of federal agencies recognized that malaria vaccine R&D was proceeding, often in a disjointed fashion, in a variety of agencies, and that sharing of information could be mutually beneficial. The number of interactions subsequently increased until the late 1980s, when they were formalized through the formation of an ad hoc group, the Federal Malaria Vaccine Coordinating Committee (FMVCC), which met on a regular basis under the auspices of the USAID Malaria Vaccine Development Program. In 1995 the venue for FMVCC was changed to the NIH. By consensus, participants began to focus on more proactive efforts to accelerate malaria vaccine R&D through increased collaboration and cooperation among the participants. Several task forces charged with development of selected malaria vaccine products were established and have begun to coordinate the steps in the development process. In addition, FMVCC began to exchange information, identify generic gaps in the development process, establish collaborations to evaluate new vaccine technologies, and consider how vaccines might be evaluated in clinical and field settings. It also recognized the important need to reach out to other entities in the private sector and the international community. FMVCC was crucial in beginning the transition from coordinating individual product development efforts to the more complex task of process management. This process should continue.
While acknowledging the accomplishments of FMVCC, workshop participants recognized that an additional major step must be taken. Coordination of research and communication between managers of development programs is essential, but not sufficient to meet the challenge of malaria vaccine development. Workshop members agreed that a powerful and authoritative federal Malaria Vaccine Development Board is needed to forge the alliance among government agencies and to establish the necessary partnerships with both the academic community and the vaccine industry.