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Mosquitocidal and repellent properties of plant extracts.

May 6, 2015 - 14:27 -- Pierre Lutgen

Mosquitoes are progressively becoming resistant to industrial repellents and insecticides. This is the case for pyrethroids used on bednets.

Most of these products are expensive and African households cannot afford their purchase.

Plants, their extracts and their essential oils have been used during centuries to fight aggressive mosquitoes responsible for malaria, dengue, sleeping sickness but also insects acting as vectors for many other diseases.

Saponin lowers iron, glucose, uric acid and cholesterol: key factors in malaria

April 28, 2015 - 17:47 -- Pierre Lutgen

Most research work on Artemisia annua has ignored saponins and polysaccharides because these are only soluble in water and in the search of the golden fleece or the exceptional antimalarial molecule most extracts are obtained with organic solvents.

Saponins are found in many plants, often in desert plants and are also present in some marine organisms. Most medicinal plants are rich in saponins, which to a large extent are responsible for their bitterness. In fact saponins protect plants from phytopathogenic microorganisms, phytophagous mammalian and insects.

Today is World Malaria Day: medicine fraud may be less than expected

April 25, 2015 - 13:40 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

Poor quality and fake anti-malaria medicines can be deadly and cause a big problem in the fight against malaria. Previous reports indicated that up to 1/3 of the antimalarial medicines could be fake. A recent study of anti-malarials in Tanzania and Cambodia showed no evidence of fake medicines in these countries. So could it be that the problem of fake drugs in Africa is less than expected?

News from MESA: Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW) shares research portfolio on MESA Track database

April 16, 2015 - 17:00 -- MESA Alliance

MLW has become one of the first African research centres to share their portfolio of research relevant to the malaria elimination and eradication agenda in the open database 'MESA Track'. This is all thanks to the close collaboration of the MLW team and especially of Anja Terlouw (Malaria theme lead at MLW) who said: "This is an important initiative that I am keen to support".

Geophagia, Artemisia afra and Tuberculosis

April 16, 2015 - 14:57 -- Pierre Lutgen

Three diseases at least are caused by mycobacteria : leprosy, tuberculosis and Buruli ulcer. Iron is a prerequisite for the growth of mycobacteria. It is a cofactor for numerous enzymes encoded in the mycobacterium genome. It is required for the cytochromes involved in electron transport. It has been estimated that 7 to 64 g Fe per kg of mycobacterial cell mass is required to support growth. Iron limitation in vitro to levels below these results in growth restriction in many species of mycobacteria, such as M.tuberculosis.

Artemisia's incredible impact on health care costs

April 9, 2015 - 20:34 -- Pierre Lutgen

In a country in the center of Africa two plants producing the same palm oil based cosmetic products and belonging to the same shareholder have established for the first quarter 2015 the balance of their health care costs. The first plant employs 168 people, the second 458 people. In the first plant the total health care costs per employee are 6.1 times lower than in the second. In the first plant people have been convinced a few years ago that regular consumption of Artemisia annua tea could be prophylactic and beneficial for several diseases, particularly for malaria.

News from MESA: ECTMIH 2015: special focus on malaria control & elimination from innovation to application

April 2, 2015 - 17:00 -- MESA Alliance

Malaria will feature as a key topic in the ECTMIH congress in Basel September 6-10. Topics will include:

  • insecticide resistance
  • drug resistance
  • the importance of P. vivax
  • implementation science
  • drug delivery
  • vaccines

as well as cross-cutting sessions on malaria transmission and malaria elimination.

Researchers are encouraged to submit there abstracts on line throug the ECTMIH website (link is external) before Thursday, 9 April 2015.

Scandal at BioMed Central: 43 papers retracted

April 2, 2015 - 16:53 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Last Friday the Washington Post published an article about fake peer review and how it has affected the UK publisher BioMed Central. At least 43 papers have been retracted so far and we have not found this list to see if it included papers published in the Malaria Journal or Parasites & Vectors. How is it possible that such scandals emerge, one could wonder...

Introducing Open Access may not believe it, but its true!

March 26, 2015 - 22:22 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The MalariaWorld Journal, now in its 6th volume, is the first truly Open Access journal with a focus on malaria. Where you don't pay to publish (authors) and you don't pay for access (readers). If you publish in the Malaria Journal, don't think its for free. You may not pay directly yourself, but your institutional library pays large sums of money for you to publish in that journal. True, they do give out waivers to developing country scientists, but at the end of the day it is all about money. And impact factors...

Last Week at MalariaWorld: La Bonifica Integrale - Mussolini's war on malaria

March 19, 2015 - 19:20 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

Benito Mussolini was an Italian fascist dictator between 1922 and 1943. His quest to bring Roman glory to Italy brought his country war and misery. This is how we know him from the history books. What is less known is how Mussolini took important steps in the fight against malaria in Italy. Bill Jobin shares with us an interesting story about Mussolini's efforts to control malaria. Read Lessons from the successful national malaria campaign of Italy 1900-1962 here. An amazing story for sure.

News from MESA: Postdoctoral Fellowship in Malaria and Implementation Research

March 19, 2015 - 19:00 -- MESA Alliance

The Duke Global Health Institute announces a postdoctoral fellowship, to start as early as June 1, 2015, for a minimum of one year, and renewable for an additional 2 years contingent upon performance and funding availability. The fellowship will focus on implementation science to address the problem of presumptive treatment of fevers with antimalarials.

Lessons from the successful national malaria campaign of Italy 1900-1962

March 16, 2015 - 15:59 -- William Jobin

How could a fascist dictator realize how to control malaria in Italy 80 years ago, when we can’t figure out what to do in Africa today ?

NOTE; He did it in 3 steps: larval source management with larviciding, improved housing and education, and finally medical treatment

Measuring the wrong parameter for evaluating impact of malaria control

March 14, 2015 - 14:51 -- William Jobin

In the latest Annual Report of PMI (April 2014), they cite the reduction in mortality rates of children under five as proof of the beneficial impact of the anti-malarial work of PMI. Figure 1 of the report cites the following figures for the 15 PMI focus countries which have the best data. However, as in the past, they have not done a comparison with other countries in Africa. The same is true in general of the reports from the Roll Back Malaria program. For some strange reason they don't want to measure changes in malaria prevalence.

Lessons from the failure of the WHO Garki Project

March 11, 2015 - 12:50 -- William Jobin

Do any of you have experience with the Garki Project, to add to my comments below? I would especially appreciate comments from those of you who knew what the thinking inside WHO Geneva was, at the time.

What lessons can we learn from the failure of the WHO Garki Malaria Project in Kano, Nigeria, 1970-1980?

MESA News: Operational research projects share findings with local stakeholders

February 26, 2015 - 17:26 -- MESA Alliance

Three MESA-funded projects in Cambodia, Kenya and Tanzania looked at what can be done to reduce efficacy decay of malaria interventions in different settings, and the feasibility of clearing parasites from asymptomatic people. As the projects wrap-up, the research groups are sharing findings with National Malaria Control Programmes, Ministries of Health, as well as national research networks. 

How to avoid the Immunity Trap

February 25, 2015 - 15:29 -- William Jobin


Inherent in a strategy which requires repeated application of temporary control methods, is the specter of the Immunity Trap. After several years of suppressing malaria transmission by temporary methods, if the methods are suspended for any reason, the previously protected population will be extremely vulnerable to acute disease and death because they will have lost their immunity. The longer the temporary methods are used, the greater will be the risk for the population to fall into the Immunity Trap.

Selenium, malaria and infections

February 20, 2015 - 10:48 -- Pierre Lutgen

 Selenium is an essential trace element in human health and disease. It is currently a subject of intense interest and appears to play a key role in malaria. Selenium has important health effects related to the immune response. It appears to be a key nutrient in counteracting the development of virulence and inhibiting HIV progression to AIDS. In the context of health effects, low selenium status in some parts of the world, notably in Africa, is giving cause for concern.

Selenium and immunity

Tribute to Mark Bennett

February 12, 2015 - 17:20 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

Mark Bennett passed away on 10 February 2015. Mark stood at the cradle of MalariaWorld. He will be missed and remembered.

Read below a tribute to Mark written by Julia Royall. Julia used to be the Director of the communications network of MIM (MIMCom) when she was the Chief, International Programs at NLM/NIH. Mark was appointed as Technical Director of MIMCom and helped 19 malaria research instutes in Africa to get (improved) access to the internet. His efforts have been invaluable to achieving free access to scientific information on malaria for all in need.

Should we declare a state of emergency?

February 5, 2015 - 21:38 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Last week the Roll Back Malaria Vector Control Working Group organised its 10th meeting in Geneva. Close to 200 vector control specialists from more than 30 countries attended the three-day event. What started as a small gathering years ago has grown to become what could be considered the equivalent of the annual ASTMH meeting but with an exclusive focus on vectors. And although this 10th meeting was ample reason for celebration, it wasn't. The meeting was officially addressed by WHO's Global Malaria Programme Director Dr. Pedro Alonso, who recently took office. His opening statements were clear: Insecticide resistance is as much a threat to continued successful malaria control, if not more, than the current Asian threat of artemisinin resistance. Pyrethroids were great and have undoubtedly saved many thousands of lives, but the era in which we could safely rely on them, is coming to an end. And that's bad news.

News from MESA: The UK Parliament's 750th birthday & malaria research

January 29, 2015 - 19:00 -- MESA Alliance

On the UK Parliament's 750th birthday, the All Party Parliamentary Group met to discuss collaborative initiatives in malaria research.

In the historic setting of the Palace of Westminster, on January 20th, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (APPMG) met to discuss collaborative initiatives in malaria research. Last year, the UK Government pledged to increase funding for the fight against malaria up to £500 million every year, a goal the APPMG hopes to see achieved in 2015.

A Mosquito Repellent from Burundi

January 27, 2015 - 10:34 -- Pierre Lutgen

The association ACECI in Burundi ( has developed a mosquito repellent based on Nepeta cataria (catmint in english, cataire en français, Katzenminze auf deutsch). The study by local students in medicine in collaboration with Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique together with the Government of Burundi showed that catnip oil reduced the number of bites from mosquitoes by 91.7%. The trial involved 60 volunteers.


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