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.

Every year on April 25 we celebrate World Malaria Day. In the last decade global efforts have been able to scale up effective interventions and reduce the malaria burden worldwide. More countries than ever are close to eradicating the disease and the world was able to prevent nearly 100 million malaria cases from 2000 to 2018.

However, this fight is far from over. Malaria still kills over 400,000 people per year, and 228 million cases were registered worldwide in 2018. To end with malaria in one generation, it is necessary novel tools and methods to complement existing ones. The COVID-19 pandemic adds another challenge to health systems and professionals, and there is a significant risk that malaria prevention and treatment programmes will be disrupted.

Researchers from Imperial College London recently identified that the malaria parasite uses a specific molecule, the PIMMS43, to evade the mosquito’s immune system, enabling it to infect humans. The discovery can help the development of future vaccines or genetically modified mosquitoes resistant to PIMMS43.

Now the group of scientists is working to produce antibodies capable of blocking the action of this molecule to prevent parasite transmission. The results of the first tests are promising - the number of parasites able to survive the mosquito’s immune response was reduced significantly.

Researchers from Imperial College London recently identified that the malaria parasite uses a specific molecule, the PIMMS43, to evade the mosquito’s immune system, enabling it to infect humans. The discovery can help the development of future vaccines or genetically modified mosquitoes resistant to PIMMS43.