World Malaria Day 2013: Malaria in Review

25 Apr 2013
Authors:
Alison Buki

This post was written in collaboration with CDDEP researcher Suraj Pant.

Today is World Malaria Day, and this year's theme is Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria. The theme reflects an urgent need to sustain the remarkable gains made in malaria control over the past decade, especially within today's challenging funding climate. The Roll Back Malaria Partnership estimates that an annual funding gap of about $2.8 billion will need to be filled in order achieve Millennium Development Goals targets set for 2015.

While an increasing number of countries are on the path to elimination, malaria still kills around 600,000 people annually, many of whom are young children. The past year has seen a wide array of research in malaria parasitology, epidemiology, and treatment, as well as new thinking on financing the ongoing battle against the disease.

In honor of World Malaria Day 2013, we bring you a compilation of the major news/publications and visualizations on malaria from this past year. Click below to jump to a category:

 

Malaria parasites

Malaria drugs

Antimalarial drug resistance

Challenges in combating malaria

Financing the battle against malaria

Novel control strategies

Other research and news

Visualizations/Videos

 

Research on malaria parasites

June 13, 2012: A study published in the journal Nature developed a method to sequence the genomes of Plasmodium falciparum, a malaria parasite that causes the most common and deadliest form of malaria. [NPR]

August 6, 2012: According to research published in the journal Nature Genetics, scientists found significant genetic variations that could make Plasmodium vivax, the most prevalent human malaria parasite outside Africa, adept at evading treatments. [Futurity]

August 15, 2012: In a study published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments, researchers explained a novel technique to study interactions between the malaria parasite and HIV. [ScienceCodex]

October 11, 2012: Research in the journal Ecology Letters challenged existing ideas on optimal temperature for malaria transmission and predicted a different pattern of malaria s spread with rising temperatures. [New Scientist]

December 7, 2012: Research published in the journal Science illustrated how a molecule produced by platelets combines with Duffy, an antigen located on the surface of red blood cells, to kill Plasmodium falciparum. [The Conversation]

January 16, 2013: In research published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, researchers described the camouflaging mechanism through which Plasmodium falciparum evades destruction by the human complement system. [Research in Germany]

February 13, 2013: In another study published in Cell Host and Microbe, researchers showed that Plasmodium falciparum uses a protein on its surface as a molecular pump to push out sodium ions, and that a newly discovered antimalarial drug could kill the parasite by blocking the salt pump. [NBC News via Reuters, Deutsche Welle]

 

Research on malaria drugs

May 16, 2012: Biologists at the University of California, San Diego engineered an alga that could potentially produce proteins to make a viable, inexpensive malaria vaccine, according to a study in PLoS One. [San Diego Biotechnology Connection]

August 27, 2012: Results from research published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene showed that chloroquine, a previously effective drug to which parasites had since developed resistance, was again beginning to work against malaria. [ScienceBlog]

September 4, 2012: Research published in the journal Nature Communications discovered that the iron-sulphur enzyme IspH could be used in the development of new antibiotics, especially against malaria and tuberculosis. [Phys.Org]

September 5, 2012: Results from research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that a potential new malaria drug could kill malaria parasites rapidly in culture and significantly reduce malarial infections in mice. [Phys.Org]

December 13, 2012: RTS, S, an experimental malaria vaccine, produced disappointing results in its Phase III tests, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The tests on this drug are ongoing. [NYTimes, AFP]

December 20, 2012: A study published in the journal PLoS One showed that dried leaves from Artemisia annua may be more effective in treating malaria than purified artemisinin. [Discovery]

December 27, 2012: Using a mouse model, research published in the journal PLoS Pathogens suggested that lovastatin, a commonly used cholesterol-lowering drug, helped prevent late cognitive problems in children surviving cerebral malaria. [VOA]

March 20, 2013: Researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University developed a new malaria drug called ELQ-300 that killed the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, in multiple stages of its life cycle. The research published in the journal Science Translational Medicine showed that the drug rapidly cured infected mice and killed parasites in mosquitoes. [Scientific American]

 

News and research on antimalarial drug resistance

April 27, 2012: Bloomberg reported on research that showed resistance to artemether (a key ingredient in the malaria drug coartem) was emerging in Africa. [Bloomberg]

June 2012: A study in The Lancet explored how the presence of poor-quality antimalarial drugs in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa threatened malaria control strategies and contributed to drug resistance. [The Lancet]

June 2012: Two studies in Research and Reports in Tropical Medicine found that up to eight percent of malaria drugs approved by regulators, including the World Health Organization, contained incorrect doses of artemisinin and may increase resistance. [AFP]

January 2, 2013: An NBC news story discussed the growing threat of drug-resistant malaria in northwestern Thailand. [NBC News]

January 17, 2013: A paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that juvenile malaria parasites have a higher degree of antibiotic resistance and are up to 100 times less sensitive to artemisinin than mature parasites. [Eureka Alert]

February 11, 2013: An article titled Antimalarial drug resistance: A review of the biology and strategies to delay emergence and spread and authored by CDDEP senior fellow Eili Klein was published [gated] in The International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. [CDDEP]

 

Challenges in combating malaria

May 23, 2012: Writing for CDDEP, Dr. Dana Dalrymple reviewed the progress and the challenges in combating malaria in developing countries. [CDDEP]

September 17, 2012: Scientists found a new type of mosquito in Kenya with the potential to cause hundreds of thousands of more deaths from malaria. [Independent Online]

October 25, 2012: Widespread use of outdated anti-malaria drugs due to the unavailability of artemisinin-combination therapies (ACTs) continued to cost hundreds of thousands of lives annually in Nigeria. [Voice of America]

December 8, 2012: The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) blamed fake and substandard drugs as the major obstacle in the fight against malaria. [AllAfrica]

December 23, 2012: An article in The Guardian discussed the complexities surrounding the prevalence of fake and substandard malaria drugs in Tanzania and Uganda, the countries with the highest number of malaria cases in the world. [The Guardian]

February 13, 2013: An article in Nature examined the challenges in the production and distribution of artemisinin in light of the discontinuation of the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm). [Nature]

 

Financing the battle against malaria

October 31, 2012: An independent research published in The Lancet found that the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm), a groundbreaking global subsidy for malaria treatment, substantially reduced the cost of effective medications over a short period of time. [CDDEP, BBC]

November 15, 2012: Despite passionate arguments for its continuation from Dr. Kenneth Arrow and malaria control program officers, the Global Fund decided to effectively end the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm). [NYT, Malaria Journal, Nature]

December 10, 2012: To help fill a $3.6 billion funding gap necessary to tackle Africa s malaria problem, the board of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership called on governments and development partners for support. [Devex]

December 17, 2012: Releasing the World Malaria Report 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that stagnant funding in the fight against malaria could reverse recent gains in malaria prevention and treatment. [BBC]

January 25, 2013: In an interview with CNBC, Bill Gates, founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said that infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV could be eradicated and stressed on the need of public funding. [CNBC]

 

Novel strategies to control malaria

June 19, 2012: Thousands of malaria cases and deaths were averted in Africa by applying the private sector practice of buying insurance, a system that guarantees payments so production can start earlier, to the distribution of large quantities of mosquito nets. [The Huffington Post]

September 17, 2012: Cambodia launched a pilot project to combat malaria by training volunteers from remote villages to use online mapping systems and mobile phones to notify health authorities of new cases of malaria. [BBC]

September 24, 2012: A Doctors Without Borders study found that wide distribution of antimalarial drugs to healthy children significantly reduced the number of new malaria cases, with up to an 86% decline in a region of Chad. [Voice of America]

October 12, 2012: Research published in the journal Science, co-authored by CDDEP Associate Director for Research David Smith, explored the impact of human movement, measured using cell phone data, on malaria transmission in Kenya. [CNN]

December 2012: A study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, seeking to test the feasibility of a crowdsourced online game to detect malaria found that non-expert participants achieved a counting accuracy higher than 99%. [JMIR]

February 4, 2013: A study carried out in rural Bangladesh and published in Malaria Journal concluded that cellphones have proved to be an efficient and effective method for rapid diagnosis and treatment of malaria in the region. [Sci Dev]

March 13, 2013: An article in The Huffington Post explored the possibility of controlling malaria by implementing a low cost strategy of growing Lantana camara, a mosquito-repelling plant. [Huffington Post]

 

Other research/news on malaria:

July 24, 2012: Research published in the journal BMJ found that overdiagnosis of malaria in Afghanistan could have been posing a risk to public health. [SciDev]

October 29, 2012: Research published in the journal PLoS One found three new associations between human genetic variants and malaria severity. [Sanger Institute]

January 23, 2013: A paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change found a strong association between malaria epidemics in northwest India and sea surface temperatures in the tropical South Atlantic and used the relationship to predict malaria outbreaks in the region. [Hindustan Times]

February 21, 2013: In an article published in the journal Science, researchers, including CDDEP director Ramanan Laxminarayan and senior fellow David Smith, suggested that it may be more beneficial for countries to eliminate malaria than control it indefinitely, and that global coordination may not be necessary to eradicate the disease. [CDDEP]

April 15, 2013: A paper in The Lancet suggested that new approaches that respond effectively to the changing patterns of infection in low transmission areas are necessary to eliminate malaria. [BBC]

August 29, 2012: Research published in the journal PLoS ONE showed that despite years of armed conflict, which would weaken malaria control programs and increase risk of outbreaks and epidemics, Sri Lanka eliminated malaria incidence by 99.9% since 1999. [Science Codex]

 

April 25, 2013: For last year s World Malaria Day, CDDEP visualized the operational feasibility of malaria elimination. [CDDEP]

August 20, 2012: NPR published illustrations from Dr. Seuss s days as a captain in the U.S. Army, including comics that warned soldiers about the threat of malaria. [NPR]

December 17, 2012: NPR s brief animated video documented the history of malaria drugs. [NPR]

December 19, 2012: A series of cartoons created by the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, a predecessor of the CDC, documented how the U.S. officially eradicated malaria in 1951. [NPR]

March 2013: A visualization from a recent CDDEP paper illustrates the life cycle of the malaria parasite. [CDDEP]