More than four years after the publication of the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA), which identified knowledge gaps and tools that will be needed to eradicate malaria, the Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance (MESA) is leading a consultative process to assess the progress made, examine current hypotheses and identify priority research areas in the next 5-10 years.
The malERA initiative pioneered a reflective exercise engaging more than 250 experts, in the understanding that R&D will play a crucial role for eventually achieving malaria eradication. By characterizing a new generation of tools and strategies focused in interrupting transmission, it was considered a complement to the 2008 Global Malaria Action Plan.
Since the publication of malERA, however, the scenario has changed enormously. Researchers and funding bodies have incorporated the particularities of the eradication approach into their research portfolios, while the international community has strongly committed to eliminate malaria in at least 35 new countries by 2030, as reflected in the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria (2016-2030) approved by the World Health Assembly in May, 2015. Therefore, taking stock of the new evidence and lessons learned and reassessing the R&D questions and priorities is now needed.
The ‘MESA malERA Refresh process’ will build upon consultative meetings organized in six thematic panels, each of them chaired by a leading expert and covering the following subjects: Basic research and enabling technologies, Insecticide and drug resistance, Characterizing the reservoir and measuring transmission, Tools to interrupt transmission, Combining interventions and modeling, and Health systems and policy research. In order to be as inclusive as possible, the process will also encompass online consultations. A Leadership Group, comprising Pedro Alonso (Global Malaria Programme, WHO), Regina Rabinovich (ISGlobal), Marcel Tanner (Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute) and Dyann Wirth (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) will oversee the exercise, which will culminate with a publication in a scientific journal.
MESA is an alliance committed to the advancement of the science of malaria eradication. It is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its Secretariat is based at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health.