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Bart G.J. Knols's blog

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?

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...

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...

Is it worth dying for Open Access: A tribute to Aaron Swartz

January 24, 2013 - 20:45 -- Bart G.J. Knols

 

Six days ago, on January 11, Aaron Swartz committed suicide. As a malariologist you may not know who he was (I also had not heard of him to be honest), and that's why I pay tribute to him here. Aaron's extraordinary life, during which he mobilised millions of people around the world to fight for freedom on the web and free access to information, amongst many other accomplishments, ended too soon (read about him here). Why he committed suicide remains unknown, but he was charged with a 35 years sentence to prison and a 1 million dollar fine, for downloading several million scientific articles from the JSTOR database. Articles for which he had in mind to make them publicly available to the world. Because he believed that scientific information needs to be available to those that can make good use of it and should not be locked behind paywalls. At MalariaWorld we believe the same. But was it worth dying for this cause?

Support Soniran to study drug resistance at Cornell University!

January 3, 2013 - 20:00 -- Bart G.J. Knols

At MalariaWorld we aim to serve you - it's the very reason we exist.

But every year in December, during the festive season, we ask you for a small favour in return. A small gift in return for a full year of weekly newsletters that we drop in your mailbox, and a website full of information on malaria that you all receive for free.

This year we are not asking anything for MalariaWorld itself. Instead we have another cause for which we ask your support... 

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