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E-interview with Dr. Gunilla Priebe: Should more malaria research be based in Africa?

March 1, 2010 - 08:25 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Dr. Gunilla Priebe recently graduated from the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) on a most interesting topic. She advocates further Africanisation of malaria research based on her study of the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria. Some questions for Gunilla... 


 Question/Bart: If you argue for more research in the South, then what should the role of scientists in the North be(come)?...

E-interview with Fredros Okumu (Kenya, 1981)

February 21, 2010 - 12:47 -- Bart G.J. Knols

E-interviews are a new section on MalariaWorld, where we interview members about their work and role in the field of malaria. This is our first e-interview, with Mr. Fredros Okumu, working at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania and PhD student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


Question/Bart: Fredros, what are you currently working on and why is this important?

Will laser technology rid Africa of malaria?

February 16, 2010 - 12:11 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Last week, Nathan Myhrvold, a former Microsoft executive, presented a fascinating new invention to the world during a talk at the TED conference. The TED talks are renowned for providing a stage for great people with great ideas... 

Speaking at TED means a lot of global attention, and Myhrvold played his cards right. With a display of the invention that uses laser technology to shoot down mosquitoes on the wing, and some stunning video footage, it was certain that the global press would jump on the story. Hundreds of websites and facebook pages covered this breakthrough, that was twittered to hundreds of thousands of people around the planet. Intellectual Ventures, the company headed by Myhrvold, has done well this week.

Interestingly, although the world may think this is a new invention, it is not. The Wall Street Journal ran an article on the same invention on 14 March 2009. Back then the video footage wasn't as exciting, leading to limited press attention. But why did Myhrvold not use the last ten months to demonstrate the potential of his invention in the real world, in a rural setting somewhere in Africa?

CLOSED: PhD Studentships in The Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases : Camden Town, Greater London WC1E 7, UK

February 13, 2010 - 20:04 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine invites applications for Three PhD studentships in the Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases.

What do bednets and Trabant cars have in common?

February 3, 2010 - 16:08 -- Bart G.J. Knols

There is a good reason for putting out a large variety of products with similar function on the market – like cars. It simply has to do with our innate differences in preference with regard to colour, shape, make, etc. Some like a blue car, others a white or a red one. And, suprise surprise, the great level of differentation means that almost everyone can find a car that matches his/her preferences at an affordable price....

Transgenic human skin bacteria to produce repellents?

February 1, 2010 - 08:07 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Ninety years ago it was discovered that mosquitoes track us down at night by responding to the smell we as humans produce. Since then, many studies have focused on identifying the nature of the chemicals we produce with the aim to use them to lure mosquitoes to trapping devices, thereby interrupting bloodfeeding and thus transmission of diseases like malaria. But why is there still no trap available for use in the developing world where malaria hits hardest?

Healthy houses make happy homes - outcome of a workshop

January 23, 2010 - 14:01 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The statistics say it all: 70% of the transmission of infectious diseases is focused in and around the house. Including malaria, where the key vectors in Africa are almost exclusively feeding indoors and at night. The forum on MalariaWorld that discussed this issue was very well read (more than 1000 views), and although comments were limited, it was enough to move forward with the idea...

Larval control: When the tools are fine but their application goes wrong…

January 12, 2010 - 12:26 -- Bart G.J. Knols

In most African countries bednets have become common and are contributing to saving countless lives of children. Scaling up of this intervention continues in the second decade of this millennium. Indoor residual spraying is widely practiced though a less common sight in many parts of Africa where spray teams do not reach far-off communities in rural settings.

Stunning Feature of Life-shortened Aedes

January 2, 2010 - 22:24 -- Mark Benedict

I know this web site is MALARIA World. But the field of genetic control of vectors is so small that I hope you will indulge me in a blog that reaches into arbovirology and highlights the kind of technology we might anticipate against Plasmodia in Anopheles. Genetic control of vectors received another Christmas gift when a bonus remarkable phenotype due to Wolbachia infection - in addition to cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) and life shortening - was reported in Cell.

Realism will work best for attacking malaria

December 26, 2009 - 15:19 -- William Jobin

While it might appear that the call for eradication will bring out lots of enthusiasm, it is hard to see how we can mount a global program, based on fantasy.

And let's admit that the Gates and Clinton Foundations mean well but are divorced from reality, USAID and the PMI are mired in decades of bureaurocratic tangles, and the UN and WHO left the scene a long time ago, so the attack on malaria in Africa will progress as Africa progresses.

Realism will work better than fantasy.

Let's take Africa, where most malaria deaths occur. A realistic strategy would be to start in the stable, most democratic countries, and gradually develop competent national programs, employing nationals who live in the malaria zone, who can progress upward in their civil service by making progress against malaria in small and carefully measured increments.

So they would reduce malaria prev in school kids by 10% each year, at a cost within the national budget realities. That gives us a solid foundation for progress. Forget the magic bullets and fantasy. Malaria control takes careful application of proven methods - all of them - in a rational strategy that reflects budget realities as well as the ecology of malaria.

Start with the solid countries, where investments will not be wasted on some dictator and his cronies. Start with Senegal, Mali and Ghana. With Tanzania and Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and blessed South Africa. Grow those programs slowly and carefully. Use them as training grounds for folks around them who speak the same language. Realize that we are dealing with Arabic, English, French, Portuguese and Swahili.

Final note: I think it is the third law of for attacking malaria in Africa - The dictators are as dangerous as the mosquitoes.


World Malaria Report 2009: Are we moving in the right direction?

December 15, 2009 - 21:21 -- Bart G.J. Knols

It's that time of the year when we all get to see how well the battle against malaria is progressing: The World Malaria Report 2009 came out today. And, overall, there is much, much progress. Regretfully, and well-documented this time, there are also worries...


Evolutionary biology, evolution-proof insecticides and malaria control

December 11, 2009 - 13:49 -- Yannis Michalakis

Yannis Michalakis & François Renaud GEMI, CNRS-IRD UMR 2724, Montpellier, France,


Evolutionary thinking started pervading vector control strategies and planning since it was used to explain and manage insecticide resistance. More recently it has been used in the planning of GMMs (Genetically Modified Mosquitoes).


A new promising avenue was recently opened by Andrew Read and his colleagues.

Clever use of mobile phone data to better control malaria?

December 11, 2009 - 08:22 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Andy Tattem and colleagues published a really interesting study in the Malaria Journal yesterday. They conclude from the study that anonymous mobile phone records provide valuable information on human movement patterns in areas that are typically data-sparse. Estimates of human movement patterns from Zanzibar to mainland Tanzania suggest that imported malaria risk from this group is heterogeneously distributed; a few people account for most of the risk for imported malaria.

CLOSED: Family Health International: Senior Monitoring & Evaluation Advisor

November 28, 2009 - 15:26 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

Family Health International (FHI) is dedicated to improving lives, knowledge, and understanding worldwide through a highly diversified program of research, education, and services in family health and HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

'Mosquito: The fascinating world of public enemy number I' is out

November 27, 2009 - 11:22 -- Bart G.J. Knols

'Mug: De fascinerende wereld van volksvijand nummer I' went on sale in Dutch bookstores last Friday. The book (in Dutch) was written for the general public, to become familiarised with the difficulties of controlling diseases like malaria in developing countries. Given the absence of malaria in the Netherlands since 1959, the Dutch population has now lived for five decades without the threat of a mosquito-borne disease. There is therefore remarkably little general knowledge about mosquito-borne diseases, notably malaria.

Will Kenya eliminate malaria by 2017?

November 23, 2009 - 08:58 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The atmosphere in the press room was one of excitement, when it was announced that Kenya would see its last case of endemic malaria in the year 2017

This date came from the 2007 Malaria Indicator Survey, showing that malaria is on the decline in various parts of the country. Kenya has therefore chosen the path towards elimination, and will do so when having sufficient funding.

Think globally: act ... area-wide

November 20, 2009 - 22:15 -- Mark Benedict

MalariaWorld Newsletter recipients would need to have their heads buried in the sand if they were not well aware of numerous threats to the current methods for reducing malaria transmission. Whether the intervention is insecticides or drugs, their sustainability is threatened by failures which - it is hoped - will not become widespread. Of greater concern for those who are responsible for implementing programs are the complexities of applying control methods in different cultures, education in different languages and achieving sufficient compliance.


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