You can now watch online the panel The Malaria Endgame: Innovation in Therapeutics, Vector Control and Public Health Tools, filmed during the Keystone Symposia Conference last year. Speakers discussed the current state of the field, as well as trends and challenges in the fight against malaria. Vaccines, the impact of co-infections in Africa, and the use of genetically modified mosquitoes to control the disease are some of the topics addressed.

The panel features representatives from the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), Ethiopian Society of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (ESTAIDs), International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, and Armauer Hansen Research Institute.

Written by Samantha O’Loughlin, Target Malaria

As I write, here in the UK we are in lockdown to try to stem a disease pandemic that is causing global suffering and deaths. We are all unsure about what the future holds.

Imagine a world where Covid-19 is endemic. Scientists are still struggling to develop an effective vaccine. Imagine if we all know we will have to take two or three weeks off work sick every year. We feel the familiar start of a fever and know that we are in for a rough few days - again. We hope that this time will not be worse; we won’t end up in hospital like our brother, or will never come home from hospital like our grandmother. Imagine that the health care system in your country cannot cope, and that there are not enough hospital beds to go around or doctors to treat you.

If you replace the words ‘Covid-19’ with ‘malaria’ in the paragraph above, this is the sad reality for most people living in sub-Saharan Africa. When I am working with my colleagues in Burkina Faso or Uganda it is common for someone to start looking unwell. ‘Don’t worry’ they say, ‘it is just malaria’. Usually, they stay home for a few days, but sometimes it develops into something far worse.

Par Kadiatou Sanogo, Chargée de Communication, Target Malaria Mali

Chaque année, à la date du 25 avril, le monde célèbre la journée mondiale de lutte contre le paludisme. Le thème « zéro palu, je m’engage » de l’année dernière a été mis à jour en raison de son importance et appelle chacun à jouer son rôle dans ce combat (#ZeroPalu). La pandémie du COVID-19 a mis en évidence la fragilité de nos systèmes de santé et démontre à quel point nous avons besoin de financements durables. L’objectif de cette campagne est de sensibiliser les investisseurs à mobiliser des fonds supplémentaires (2 milliards de dollars) dans la lutte contre la maladie pour combler le déficit de financement.

En effet, nous avons tous notre rôle à jouer dans la lutte contre le paludisme dans la mesure de nos moyens. L’organisation mondiale de la santé (World Malaria Report 2019) a rapporté 405 000 décès dus au paludisme et 90% ont été enregistrés en Afrique subsaharienne.

After three years studying malaria trends and future scenarios, the WHO Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication (SAGme) released its report – “Malaria eradication: benefits, future scenarios & feasibility” - with findings and recommendations to eradicate the disease. The study builds and expands on the executive summary published in August 2019.

There is a consensus that eliminating the disease would save millions of lives and generate a substantial return on investments. However, members of the Committee recognized we are still far from achieving this goal. One of their recommendations to advance the fight against malaria is to invest in research and development of novel tools. Using existing tools, there will still be 11 million malaria cases in Africa in 2050, according to the report’s most optimistic scenario.

Scientists from Cornell University have developed what they hope will be a safer approach to gene drives called Toxin-Antidote Recessive Embryo (TARE) system. According to the research, the new approach has the potential to delay resistance and requires a substantial number of individuals above a certain threshold to escape a trial zone to spread the genes more widely.