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Time to give spatial repellency its rightful role in vector control

June 19, 2012 - 19:19 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The following Guest editorial was provided by Richard Tren, Kimberly Hess, and Donald Roberts.

Progress is being made against malaria. As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria cases have declined by more than 50% between 2000 and 2010, and malaria-specific mortality has declined by 26% [1].  These gains are mainly due to the use of insecticides to control disease-spreading insects (vector control) through insecticide-treated bednets and indoor residual spraying (IRS). Despite the importance of public health insecticides in vector control, there is very little appreciation and understanding of how insecticides actually work in disease prevention.

Improving the vector control innovation process

June 7, 2012 - 20:41 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Insecticide resistance and the limits of our current vector control tools threaten our global progress against vector-borne diseases. Innovative vector control tools are therefore urgently needed, but some technical, financial and programmatic barriers may hinder innovation. In October 2011, a gathering of stakeholders including individuals from IVCC, WHO, donor institutions, industry, and other partners issued a joint call for a mapping of the current process to introduce new vector control tools for public health and the need to identify the challenges faced today in this process.

E-interview with Prof. Marc Coosemans (Belgium)

June 6, 2012 - 21:34 -- Bart G.J. Knols

E-interview with Marc Coosemans, senior full professor, medical entomology unit, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. The team and collaborators of Prof. Coosemans were recently awarded a $ 3 million grant by the Gates Foundation, to study the effects of community-wide use of topical repellents on malaria in Cambodia, when used in conjunction with insecticide-treated bednets.

Are transgenic mosquitoes beating old-school sterile insect technique?

June 5, 2012 - 16:42 -- Mark Benedict
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A friend and colleague asked me whether all the media excitement about transgenic mosquitoes represents real accomplishments that beat non-transgenic sterile insect technique (SIT). Good question. In the first of a two-part blog, I’ll tell you where I think things stand, first in SIT. In the second part, I’ll look at population replacement.

Amazing statements by leading malariologists

May 21, 2012 - 20:51 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Last week, publication of the WHO report on insecticide resistance did not go unnoticed. It was taken up by the journal Nature, and in a news article by Amy Maxmen some truly remarkable statements by some of the leading malaria researchers are to be found. I trust that these people saw the article and gave consent to its publication, so any quote in it must really have come from them. Be prepared...

Winston Hide's courageous move

May 18, 2012 - 09:57 -- Bart G.J. Knols

This week, Harvard School of Public Health's Associate Professor Winston Hide made a courageous move: he resigned from being the associate editor of the journal Genomics (an Elsevier journal). Why? Because he could no longer accept the inability of scientists in developing countries to access full articles stuck behind paywalls thrown up by publishers. A bold and remarkable step. He published the rationale for making this decision this week in the Guardian.

Can we maintain effectiveness of the tools?

May 17, 2012 - 12:30 -- Bart G.J. Knols

This week WHO reiterated the fragility of the gains the world has made over the last decade through intense deployment of vector control in the fight against malaria. Reuters published an online article on the matter titled 'Insecticide resistance threatens malaria fight'. In it, WHO Director General, Margaret Chan, warns of the seriousness of the situation in Africa and India. Apparently, in ever more places the toolbox, filled with four classes of chemicals, is gradually emptying.

WHO's interim position statement on larviciding for malaria control in Africa

April 30, 2012 - 16:05 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Last week, WHO published a statement regarding the potential of larviciding for malaria control in Africa. This followed the circulation of a draft version of the statement in August 2011. That draft was sent to a limited group of people (how many I don't know) for comments (including myself). I attach the official version to this editorial.

E-interview with Prof. Marcel Tanner (Switzerland, 1952)

April 4, 2012 - 20:48 -- Bart G.J. Knols

 

Professor Tanner is Chief Executive of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), based in Basel. He is an epidemiologist and chair of medical parasitology and epidemiology at the University of Basel. Besides this, he is engaged in numerous activities and initiatives that research and control communicable diseases, notably malaria. 

If you don't have a username or password or have forgotten it...

March 22, 2012 - 21:13 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Tags: 

This is the last week before you will have to log in in order to have access to the platform (as of 29 March 2012). That's why we here explain to you what to do:

1) If you never had an account with MalariaWorld

2) If you registered before but forgot your username and/or password.

GM mosquitoes: A perspective from Oxitec

March 22, 2012 - 15:18 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The editorial below was written by Camilla Beech, Regulatory Affairs Manager,  Oxitec Ltd, UK, partially as a response to a recent editorial by Guy Reeves, on regulatory aspects of GM mosquitoes.

 

Having spent over 10 years developing novel genetic approaches to control insect pests, we’re acutely aware of the importance of proceeding with caution, of doing so in a transparent and open manner, and of engaging in the most effective way possible with the diverse communities who have an interest in the development and use of these new technologies.

WHO should measure the prevalence of malaria in Africa

March 8, 2012 - 19:56 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The article below was written by Dr. Bill Jobin and first posted as a comment under the most recent poll. I elevated it to a Guest editorial.

 

It is unfortunate that we have recently seen a great deal of confusion about the amount of malaria in Africa.  The confusion arises because most of the people making the estimates are not scientists but artists; computer artists.  It would be better if we relied on scientists.  Computer artists, using their own data and their own inspirations, get varying answers and generate conflicting maps and graphs.  But scientists, using standardized techniques and randomized sampling, get the same answers, no matter who is doing the work.  We urgently need accurate numbers on malaria...

Tackling The Malaria “End Game”: Regional Needs And Challenges For Successful Malaria Elimination

February 29, 2012 - 21:15 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The article below was written by Prof. John Beier, Editor of Acta Tropica, about a special issue of the journal published in March 2012.

 

This special issue (SI) of Acta Tropica features 20 articles highlighting the activities and plans of 10 NIH/NIAID International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) located in 7 malaria endemic regions of the world. The SI informs readers about diverse and complex malaria issues, and will be of special interest for students, investigators, and policy-makers who need to understand and deal with current challenges for malaria elimination. 

Guest Editorial: Scientific standards and the release of genetically modified insects for vector control

February 28, 2012 - 21:11 -- Bart G.J. Knols

This guest editorial was written by Dr. Guy Reeves of the Max-Planck institute in Plön, Germany.

 
Field trials of genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have already progressed to free releases in populated areas in a number of countries. A recent publication in PLoS NTD provides a critical summary of the events leading up to these trials and is aimed at non-specialist readers. While advocating the value of field testing transgenic techniques for suppressing disease vector populations, it highlights a number of troubling scientific precedents.

“Truth is not enough” part II: AAAS agrees

February 18, 2012 - 18:54 -- Mark Benedict
Tags: 

I blogged recently that getting the facts out about genetic engineering of mosquitoes would not be enough to persuade those who are hard anti-GM activists that they can be safely developed. I also argued that becoming an activist allowed one to abandon the bothersome constraints of truth. AAAS appears to agree with me, but have they made the right call?

 

Guest Editorial: Malaria in Palestine, a lesson for all of us.

February 18, 2012 - 15:59 -- Bart G.J. Knols

This Guest Editorial was written by Anton Alexander (retired solicitor, UK), based on an online presentation about Palestine and how it freed itself from malaria. No doubt of interest to those studying the history of malaria, but equally important for those that are criticial about malaria elimination. 

"Sadly, malaria is often treated by the media in many western countries as a fashion item - it goes quiet and out of fashion, then returns as a topic that is newsworthy, and then quiet again. Many pay lip-service to the destructive and dangerous consequences of the disease. Others treat it as something to which they do not relate, or as something only in far distant places, or it occurs only to other people, and it doesn't impinge on their comfortable lifestyles. It may be that if the western world honestly took malaria seriously, with a priority given to funding malaria eradication and research, we may be that much closer to the discovery of that 'silver bullet' to attack and rid the world of this dreadful disease.

We thought we were down to 655.000 deaths in 2010, right?

February 3, 2012 - 10:46 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Year after year in December we're seeing the fruits of our collective efforts to combat malaria reflected in the 'World Malaria Report' series produced by the World Health Organisation. And in those reports, year after year, we saw progression in terms of falling numbers of deaths. But today we're confronted with a harsh reality - the figures that were presented to us were off. Way off.

Do scientists want to conduct their research without oversight and public engagement?

February 1, 2012 - 13:41 -- Mark Benedict

The openness of scientists involved in the creation of genetic control methods against mosquitoes has been questioned in popular press and activist outlets. Therefore the results of a recent survey on this subject deserve attention. Do scientists want to conduct their research without oversight and public engagement?

Guest Editorial: Don't fake it!

January 26, 2012 - 13:22 -- Bart G.J. Knols

This guest editorial was written by Dr. Lotte Van Dijk in The Netherlands.

 

Many of you will have come across counterfeit or substandard drugs in your careers and I’m sure many of you will understand my frustration. Therefore, I was really happy to see that the study on poor-quality anti-malarials by Dr Paul Newton and his team got the attention of the media. Even though their study was not large-scale and even though it cannot provide an accurate estimation of the prevalence of the fake anti-malarials all over Africa, it does provide an insight into the seriousness of the problem: it is severe!

Seeing Red in Molecular Biology Labs

January 1, 2012 - 11:08 -- Mark Benedict

Quick question: For those of you who work in a recombinant DNA lab, what is the most hazardous chemical that you use on a daily basis? To put it another way, what chemical do you ALWAYS wear gloves to handle? Probably the same one that I do, but risk perception and reality aren’t always the same thing.

 

When it comes to genetic control of mosquitoes, risks are a hot topic, so it’s useful to consider the answer to this question.

 

CLOSED: Job: Entomologist / Malariologist Research Associate, Johns Hopkins Malaria Institute, Zambia

December 22, 2011 - 19:08 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (MMI), Malaria Research Institute,  has an International faculty search for an entomologist/malariologist research associate
at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Institute at Macha (MIAM), Zambia.

The closing date for applications is January 31, 2012.

 

Book Review: Integrated Vector Management, by Graham Matthews

December 7, 2011 - 10:38 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Book Details
 
Matthews, J.R.: Integrated Vector Management. Wiley-Blackwell; 2011, 234 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0-4706-5966-3 (hardcover)
 
Review
 
When around the world discussions are ongoing on how best to sustain successes in malaria control gained over the last decade, particularly in the African region, this book by Emeritus Professor Graham Matthews comes as a welcome volume to put things into perspective.

CLOSED: Job: Asst./Assoc. Professor Cellular Biology of Parasitism, University of Georgia (USA)

December 1, 2011 - 18:37 -- Ingeborg van Schayk
The Department of Cellular Biology at the University of Georgia (USA) invites applications for a tenure track Assistant/Associate Professor position. Applications received by January 10 2012 are assured of full consideration.

Wash your feet

November 27, 2011 - 21:07 -- William Jobin

There is recent interest in the odours from human feet and how they attract blood-sucking mosquitoes.  And apparently the odours are from bacteria on the skin, not necessarily of human origin.

This reminds me of the story of Ignaz Semmelweis of Vienna who confounded his physician colleagues by reporting that deaths in childbirth could be reduced drastically if the attending physician would just wash his hands.  Of course such a radical idea took a long time to be accepted.  In fact I think Semmelweis was drummed out of the profession.

CLOSED: Job: Research Associate (PostDoc) on Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes, University of Glasgow

November 24, 2011 - 20:49 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences, Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation
Ref : M00814
Salary: £31,798 - £35,788
Interviews: Monday 19 December 2011
 
Closing Date: 5 December 2011 
 

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