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Bart G.J. Knols's blog

MalariaWorld Journal publishes Grand Challenges Exploration special

May 27, 2013 - 21:03 -- Bart G.J. Knols

This week we are publishing seven research articles that were all funded by the Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges Explorations programme. This special series within the MalariaWorld Journal highlights the findings of seven GCE projects and is accompanied by an Editorial from the Gates Foundation. 

At MalariaWorld we were keen to hear more about the fate of these generally high-risk projects. What was the grand idea that researchers had in mind? And what was the outcome of the $100.000 grant that they undertook in 12-18 months?

Read for yourself how these GCE projects all showed very interesting results and thus underpin the value of the GCE programme of the Gates Foundation.

MalariaWorld Journal is proud to publish these articles and any recipient of a GCE grant is encouraged to also send us a manuscript upon completion of the project. We feel that it is important that these results are shared in the broader scientific community.

MalariaWorld Journal continues to be Open Access 2.0: where you don't pay to read and you don't pay to publish. We look forward to receiving your manuscript in due course.

Link to the articles: www.malariaworld.org/mwj

Teun Bousema (Editor-in-Chief, MalariaWorld Journal)

Eliminating malaria in a world in turmoil

May 23, 2013 - 20:52 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Many of us work in laboratories where we study the intricacies of malaria. Where we study parasites and mosquitoes and where we develop new approaches that hopefully one day will help to reduce the malaria burden. Few of us, however, have worked in the trenches to combat malaria in the real world out there. Even fewer of us have dared to venture into places that are torn apart by civil unrest or war and do something about malaria there. We know of organisations like Doctors without Borders (MSF) but there are also people out there that risk their lives to accomplish nothing more exciting than to distribute bednets and anti-malarial drugs in remote parts of Africa that are at best unsafe.

Just recently, former TV icon Julia Samuel (Netherlands) and David Robertson (UK), who have been working for the Drive Against Malaria Foundation for years, were taken hostage in the Central African Republic by Seleka rebels. For days they were threatened at gunpoint and told that they would be killed. Miraculously, they managed to escape and make it back safely to Cameroon. Julia's story is remarkable. Whilst having a great career with Dutch TV she developed breast cancer, survived it, and then decided to devote her life to doing good. She chose malaria as her target. What does the above tell us and what are the lessons to be learned from this recent kidnapping?

CropLife International Vector Control Resources

May 23, 2013 - 16:16 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Member companies of CropLife International, together with other specialised manufacturers, are working to develop products to control vectors of insect-borne diseases. Together we are working with international stakeholders to maximise our contributions with existing, proven interventions and are continuously seeking to advance innovative vector control tools.
 
CropLife International would like to share some valuable resources related to vector control and public health.
 
- Please visit the CropLife International website which has a dedicated section for Public Health and Vector Control. You can find information about industry activities, product stewardship and new investment and innovation.
 
- CropLife International has compiled A compendium of guidelines and other documents supporting stewardship of Vector Control products.  This is a compilation of documents which have originally been published by leading authorities and specialised agencies.
 
If you have any questions or comments, please send them to croplife@croplife.org.
 
The compendium is also added as an attachment to this message.

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'...

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.

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...

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