SUMMARY The use of asexual blood-stage proteins as malaria vaccines is strongly supported by experimental data directly implicating antibodies induced by these antigens in parasite clearance and protection from re-challenge. The selection of blood-stage antigens is based on their ability to interfere with the pathogenesis of clinical malaria by reducing parasitemias. These vaccines could complement other vaccines aimed at preventing infection, such as those targeted at pre-erythrocytic or mosquito stages of the parasite. Asexual blood-stage vaccines may reduce disease by blockade of red blood cell invasion, inhibition of parasite growth in red cells or interference in cytoadherence of infected red cells. Clearance of blood-stage parasites is dependent primarily on antibody-mediated mechanisms, but CD4 T cells may also play an important role in help for B cells and probably have a direct effector function in the clearance of blood-stage parasites. Since asexual blood-stage parasites reside within erythrocytes, they are accessible to immune clearance mechanisms only for a short time, which imposes special requirements on vaccines. For example, immunity that induces high titers of antibody will be required. Antigenic variation and extensive polymorphism of malarial proteins also needs to be addressed. Several recombinant antigens derived from blood-stage proteins have moved beyond basic research and are now poised for phase I trials in endemic countries. In this review we discuss the state of asexual blood-stage vaccines, focusing on recombinant antigens from Plasmodium falciparum . The significance of polymorphism and antigenic variation, the relevance of parasite immune evasion mechanisms, the need for reliable measures of successful intervention and new adjuvants are reviewed. Results from trials of asexual blood stage vaccine that support the continued effort to develop these antigens as key ingredients of multicomponent,multistage malaria vaccines are documented.