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World Malaria Day: Sign the petition against counterfeit malaria drugs

April 24, 2013 - 21:43 -- Bart G.J. Knols

As a malaria professional, you are probably aware of the unfolding tragedy with counterfeit drugs. Either completely fake (drugs containing nothing more than chalk, washing powder, or even brake fluid) or substandard (not containing enough active ingredient) or outdated drugs are flooding the African market on an ever-increasing scale.

Experts like Professors Paul Newton and Nick White have been ringing the alarm bells for years, but in spite of their efforts the problem is getting worse by the day. Read 'Phake', the excellent book on the subject by Roger Bate, and you will appreciate how serious the situation has become...

Guest Editorial: Progress toward malaria elimination: highlighting the need for new strategies

April 24, 2013 - 14:22 -- Bart G.J. Knols

This Guest Editorial was written by Sir Richard Feachem. Dr. Feachem, PhD, DSc(Med) is Director of the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco. From 2002 to 2007, Sir Richard served as founding Executive Director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Under Secretary General of the United Nations.

Harvard's Jessica Cohen: 'Zanzibar gains could be erased in months'

April 10, 2013 - 20:50 -- Bart G.J. Knols
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Harvard University organised a mini-symposium on malaria on 5 April titled 'Defeating malaria, from the genes to the globe'. It was the first in a series examining global public health problems like malaria. Noteworthy in that regard are the views that were expressed during this symposium regarding the malaria situation on Zanzibar. Assistant Professor Jessica Cohen, who reportedly advised the government of Zanzibar on how to move forward with its fight against malaria made some pretty remarkable statements.

Cohen's predictions showed that malaria on Zanzibar could be eliminated in just 5 years if everyone on the island (more than a million people) would sleep under bednets. Moreover, she noted that if 'only' 65% of the population would use nets, it would take 22 years. The bad news followed: If usage rates drop to 50% she predicted an increase in prevalence to 5% in just 3 months, up from the 2% prevalence now. Worse, if it dropped to just 35%, malaria would strike back and prevalence would rise to 18% in just 3 months.

She concluded that 'these gains can be erased in months'...

Why is WHO opposed to an effective anti-malarial tea ?

April 6, 2013 - 08:14 -- Pierre Lutgen

The following article was published in SLATE Magazine on April 4 by Brendan Borrell. Our association IFBV-BELHERB from Luxembourg is glad to read that some independent voices recognize the merit of Artemisia annua herbal medicine and proud to see that through R&D at their universities Africans will find their own solutions in the fight against tropical diseases. Hereafter excerpts from the paper. The full text is available at www.slate.com/.../wormwood_tea_to_treat_malaria

NEW! Anonymous commenting...

April 5, 2013 - 07:54 -- Bart G.J. Knols

With many thousands of visitors to MalariaWorld each week, we wondered why only few of you ever comment on articles, blogs, forums, etc. After all, we hope that MalariaWorld becomes a '2-way' platform, where we not only provide you with professional information on malaria, but also like to have your input, thoughts, dreams, worries, etc.

Bare-bones genetic control for mosquitoes

April 4, 2013 - 14:43 -- Mark Benedict

It’s a useful reminder to consider what one must have for successful genetic control strains for mosquitoes. While the focus is often on effectors for specific population manipulations, there are other bits “under the hood” that, like an engine, can’t really be ignored. It’s easy to forget how necessary these are when concentrating on something novel. I’ll give you my bare-bones list of basic genetic control features that sooner or later, you simply must have.

New on MalariaWorld: Active member counter

April 3, 2013 - 17:56 -- Serge Christiaans
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A member counter has been placed on MalariaWorld, showing the number of active members who actually log-in to our platform. This is a dynamic counter, which means that every new account will add up immediately. The counter shows on the front page just below the large banners (see screenshot below). On other pages you'll find it just below the blue main menu bar.

If you have any suggestions or  comments please don't hesitate to contact the MalariaWorld Team.
Hope you enjoy it

1950s strategy to control malaria on Zanzibar fails once more

March 29, 2013 - 09:55 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Four years ago, in 2009, I wrote an article for a Dutch newspaper (Bionieuws) with the title 'It is not yet time for a party on Zanzibar'. My article was a response to Tachi Yamada's blog on CNN 'Where have all the malaria patients gone?'. Yamada at that time was touring the spice island together with Ray Chambers and Margret Chan, and for sure their trip must have been pleasant and satisfying. After all, the renewed impetus (largely through the US Presidential Malaria Initiative) in malaria control was starting to pay off. Indoor residual spraying and massive distribution of LLINs yielded a spectacular decline in malaria prevalence. Yamada ends his commentary with a pretty strong statement...

ARTAVOL malaria prophylaxis on BBC

March 27, 2013 - 16:35 -- Pierre Lutgen

Uganda Science Festival . African approaches against tropical diseases.

Listen to Dr Patrick Ogwang on BBC World Service, London Focus on Africa (radio) on Mar 28 3.30-5-30PM

Dear Moussa. Thank you very much for the opportunity to discuss science in Africa. I strongly believe that Africa must set her science agenda if we are to benefit from science. Why? For the following reasons;

Ray Chambers: Saving The Lives Of 4 Million Children In 1,000 Days

March 27, 2013 - 10:52 -- Bart G.J. Knols

In a blog on LinkedIn yesterday, Ray Chambers, the Special Envoy for Malaria to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, sent out a public statement titled 'Saving the lives of 4 million children in 1000 days'. Making reference to the fact that the Millennium Development Goals end by December 2015, Chambers still holds the conviction that we can bring malaria mortality down to zero by the end of 2015. He asserts that the key players to accomplish this are in place, that the solution is simple and not expensive, and that we should do this. It sounds great - and given the comments under his blog ('Inspiring', 'Absolutely will join in an effort to save children', 'Few things could be more important') Chambers will certainly reach the goal of drawing more attention to malaria. Indeed, if you're not familiar with the malaria world, than it simply sounds outrageous that the world has not succeeded in putting every soul under a net in endemic settings, that we have not eliminated malaria in the south just like we did in the north half a Century ago, and that evidence (ca. 1 million deaths averted) over the last decade has clearly shown that we CAN save many lives. But is this realistic?

Last week at MalariaWorld: 2 jobs + 1 event

March 14, 2013 - 21:03 -- Ingeborg van Schayk
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Are you looking for a new job in the field of malaria  or do you know someone who is? then this may interest you: There are 2 vacancies at the ACT consortium: (1) ACT Consortium Technical Communications Officer (closing date 22 March 2013), and (2)  ACT Consortium Policy Liaison Coordinator (closing date 20 March 2013).

PMI sharpens LLIN procurement policy

March 7, 2013 - 15:23 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Concern amongst the malaria community of the inadequacy of current equivalence evaluations for long-lasting insecticidal nets under the WHOPES evaluation scheme has been highlighted in a memo released by USAID/ PMI on 3rd March 2013 entitled “Revised long lasting insecticide treated net (LLIN) procurement specifications for the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) program”.
 
The memo states that “After a technical review, PMI has determined that the equivalency status based only on Phase 1 laboratory studies is insufficient to determine eligibility for PMI procurement because these studies do not determine how the LLIN product functions in the field where other factors come into play, particularly physical durability and long-term bioefficacy”.

Look at this before you start to work in the lab today...

March 4, 2013 - 08:25 -- Bart G.J. Knols

This morning I opened the newspaper and read about the breakthrough in science that we now have the complete biochemical 'routemap' of man, us. A few days ago I read an article about rats being capable of training other rats through electrical brain signals. Scientific developments are ongoing at an unprecedented speed - we live in exciting times.

Has America forgotten its heroes?

February 28, 2013 - 20:14 -- Bart G.J. Knols

 

This week I attended the 79th annual meeting of the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), which was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA.
 
I was honoured to be invited to give a keynote lecture on the first day of the meeting, with the title 'If Gates gave you 10 million for mosquito research, what would you do with it?'. Steve Mulligan, vice president of the AMCA, in charge of the scientific programme of the meeting asked me to touch on the importance of 'out-of-the-box' science and the need that we have to come forward with radical and transformational new ideas to control vectors of disease.
 
One of my favorite subjects in that regard is to look at the past. Of where the world already eliminated malaria and what we can learn from this. That 800 million people now live in areas where there used to be malaria, but where people now put their kids to bed without having to worry about it anymore. And, may I humbly add to this: It was done without a vaccine…

Photo Contest - Malaria: The BIG Picture

February 17, 2013 - 21:32 -- Bart G.J. Knols

 

Malaria affects the lives of millions across the world. The Swiss Malaria Group* online photo contest seeks to highlight the realities of those living at risk of malaria and the work of those dedicated to changing that reality.
 
The contest is open to all. Send in your photos and captions that tell a story about malaria between 15 February and 24 March via the competition website, where you will find details of the three submission categories. The public will then vote to determine the finalists and a panel of expert judges will select the winners.

Six new ways to control malaria mosquitoes

February 14, 2013 - 07:32 -- Bart G.J. Knols

It is well known that creative thinking is affected by environmental variables. That's why researchers engage in 'off-site' events. Take them out of their comfort zone of the lab or office and miracles may happen.

I am in Pangani, Tanzania, as I write this. Sitting amongst the palm trees overlooking the Indian ocean at Emayani Beach Lodge run by my brother. Thinking back about last week, when we had a kick-off meeting with 14 scientists and entrepreneurs in Ifakara, hosted by the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI). Although this year marks my 20th anniversary of working with IHI, quite a few of us were new to IHI, new to Tanzania, or even new to Africa...

Is PCR genotyping of Plasmodium falciparum a reliable tool for monitoring drug resistance?

February 9, 2013 - 19:15 -- Pierre Lutgen

A recent press release from Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute raised a lot of concern. Based on a scientific paper published in Nature, 13 June 2012, it appears that a single infected person could harbour many genetically different Plasmodium falciparum parasites. The team from Oxford University found that these parasite populations easily swap DNA to create new forms.

This evidently raises the question how far PCR (polymer chain reaction genotyping) can distinguish between recrudescence (or treatment failure) and re-infection by new bites from anopheles mosquitoes.

Two malaria meetings in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA

February 8, 2013 - 01:49 -- William Jobin

WINTER DIALOGUES OF AFRICAN MALARIA COALITION
MIT 26-27 JANUARY 2013

Despite the cold weather, malaria was definitely in the air in Cambridge during the last week in January. Shortly after the African Malaria Coalition held our Winter Dialogues at MIT, Harvard held a Malaria Forum just up the river. There were important differences in the two meetings, but the subject was clearly the same; how to strengthen the fight against malaria.

African Malaria Coalition and the Harvard Malaria Forum

Another interesting case

February 6, 2013 - 12:46 -- Ricardo Ataide

Pregnant woman arrives at the Maternity. She is worried because she had to leave her kids at home and the River Jurua is about to flood the area, so coming to the Maternity (which involves getting a boat lift from a neighbour and then walking 1.5 km)is a great deal. She is 31 weeks into her pregnancy. Two weeks ago she had a malaria episode, Pf, and was given Quinine and Clindamycin. Now she has diarrhea, lower abdominal pain, 9 g/dL of hemoglobin, 29% hematocrit.

When mosquitoes go resistant to pyrethroids, bendiocarb will cost more

February 3, 2013 - 12:27 -- William Jobin

Jim Webb's forthcoming book on the history of the fight against malaria in Africa is a plea for all of us..... (for me that includes WHO and USPMI folks)..... to learn from history, especially the history of these clever mosquitoes who quickly learn to overcome any synthetic biocide produced by the chemical industry. He cites the experience in Turkey, Pakistan and Sudan where the malaria programs went through 8 major classes of biocides after DDT lost its effect..........

Are you a Rotarian working on malaria?

January 31, 2013 - 22:00 -- Bart G.J. Knols

I have been a member of Rotary International for the past three years. During that time I have met several people working on malaria that are also Rotarians. Rotary International is heavily engaged in the polio eradication campaign (through its international campaign 'End polio now' and has been instrumental in getting polio vaccination underway in the 1980s when the disease was still rampant.
 
Today there are only three countries remaining with cases (Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan) and so the success of the campaign (currently also supported by the Gates Foundation) is huge. It is fabulous that India which had massive problems with polio was completely free of the disease last year when no new cases were reported.

Video: "House improvement will bring malaria elimination in Africa two decades forward"

January 30, 2013 - 14:31 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The video below is an interview with Dr. Jo Lines posted online two weeks ago. Dr. Lines is currently with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine again after several years of serving the World Health Organization in Geneva. He has been one of the frontline people in the science surrounding insecticide-treated bednets, and later in advocacy and uptake of this simple technology that has saved an estimated 1 million lives over the past decade. A remarkable achievement no doubt. Have a look...

What will be the new strategy for Africa when....?

January 28, 2013 - 19:35 -- William Jobin

Resistance to drugs and biocides happens when we try to control malaria. It is a historical pattern we have seen repeatedly. And we know that ACT is about the only way to treat malaria now in Africa, especially since resistance to chloroquine has been widespread for years.

And we are also seeing that the use of permethrin for spraying houses - the same biocide used to treat bednets - is beginning to cause resistance in mosquitoes in Africa too.

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