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In Memoriam: Frans Herwig Jansen

June 5, 2013 - 15:07 -- Ingeborg van Schayk
On 3 June 2013, we lost a great Belgium doctor, an inspiring malaria professional, and a wonderful person. Mr Frans Herwig Jansen passed away at the age of 71 years.
 
Doctor of Medicine-Internist
Doctor of Chemistry
Founder of Dafra Pharma nv
Member of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine
Member of the American Society of Tropical Medicine

Offer: 20% discount on Integrated Vector Management, by Graham Matthews

June 5, 2013 - 13:36 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

John Wiley & Sons Publisher offers MalariaWorld subscribers a 20% discount on the book Integrated Vector Management by Graham Matthews.

ISBN: 978-0-470-65966-3
Hardcover, 248 pages
October 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
£80.00 / €96.00

Special price for MalariaWorld subscribers: £64.00/€76.80

Spam: 'We invite you to submit an article to our Open Access journal'

June 4, 2013 - 19:24 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Every week I receive several emails from publishers that invite me to submit an article to their journal. I am convinced that the same happens to many of you as well. Frankly, I am getting very tired of this - the reason why this happens is not that these journals are approaching us because of what we do or who we are. It is all about money. Under the umbrella of 'our journal is Open Access' publishers have found a new way to generate income by lobbying hard for our manuscripts. For which of course we need to pay to get them published. Today I received another invitation from MDPI AG Publishers (Basel, Switzerland) which triggered me to do a bit of research...

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)

African Malaria Dialogue focusses on classical methods for malaria control

May 25, 2013 - 15:27 -- William Jobin

SUMMARY OF RECENT AFRICAN MALARIA DIALOGUE at BENTLEY UNIVERSITY on 21 MAY 2013

Fifteen of us attended from Bentley, BU, Yale, Harvard and MIT, and from Ghana, Sudan, Nigeria, Canada and US. Derek Willis from Columbia U also joined us via Skype.

Malaria prophylaxis with Neem

May 24, 2013 - 16:41 -- Pierre Lutgen

The Makerere University at Kampala has been able to demonstrate over the recent years that the regular consumption of Artemisia annua tea may lead to a strong preventive effect against malaria. ( PE Ogwang et al., Trop J Pharmac Res, 2012,13:3, 445-453; PE Ogwang et al., Brit J Pharmac Res 201, 1 :4, 124.132). This research effort sponsored by government of Uganda and Carnegie corporation USA, has led to the development of drug called Artavol® which is now available in pharmacies in Uganda. This product contains ingredients from three medicinal herbs.

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.

Is artemisinic acid a precursor of artemisinin ?

May 4, 2013 - 16:38 -- Pierre Lutgen

Two competing chemotypes.

Already twenty years ago the possibility of two chemotypes for Artemisia annua had been suggested ( HJ Woerdenbag et al., Flavour and Fragrance Journal 8, 1993, 131-137) distinguishing between a Chinese and a Vietnamese chemotype, the former containing 0.17 artemisinin, the latter 1.0%.

D Fulzele et al. ( Phytotherapy Research , 5, 1991, 149-153) found that plants from Europe produced the highest level of artemisin and those from Lucknow produced the highest level of arteannuin-B.

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
Tags: 

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'...

Why is WHO opposed to an effective anti-malarial tea ?

April 6, 2013 - 08:14 -- Pierre Lutgen

The following article was published in SLATE Magazine on April 4 by Brendan Borrell. Our association IFBV-BELHERB from Luxembourg is glad to read that some independent voices recognize the merit of Artemisia annua herbal medicine and proud to see that through R&D at their universities Africans will find their own solutions in the fight against tropical diseases. Hereafter excerpts from the paper. The full text is available at www.slate.com/.../wormwood_tea_to_treat_malaria

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.

Bare-bones genetic control for mosquitoes

April 4, 2013 - 14:43 -- Mark Benedict

It’s a useful reminder to consider what one must have for successful genetic control strains for mosquitoes. While the focus is often on effectors for specific population manipulations, there are other bits “under the hood” that, like an engine, can’t really be ignored. It’s easy to forget how necessary these are when concentrating on something novel. I’ll give you my bare-bones list of basic genetic control features that sooner or later, you simply must have.

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...

ARTAVOL malaria prophylaxis on BBC

March 27, 2013 - 16:35 -- Pierre Lutgen

Uganda Science Festival . African approaches against tropical diseases.

Listen to Dr Patrick Ogwang on BBC World Service, London Focus on Africa (radio) on Mar 28 3.30-5-30PM

Dear Moussa. Thank you very much for the opportunity to discuss science in Africa. I strongly believe that Africa must set her science agenda if we are to benefit from science. Why? For the following reasons;

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...

Is PCR genotyping of Plasmodium falciparum a reliable tool for monitoring drug resistance?

February 9, 2013 - 19:15 -- Pierre Lutgen

A recent press release from Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute raised a lot of concern. Based on a scientific paper published in Nature, 13 June 2012, it appears that a single infected person could harbour many genetically different Plasmodium falciparum parasites. The team from Oxford University found that these parasite populations easily swap DNA to create new forms.

This evidently raises the question how far PCR (polymer chain reaction genotyping) can distinguish between recrudescence (or treatment failure) and re-infection by new bites from anopheles mosquitoes.

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