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Message from the Pan-African Mosquito Control Association

September 18, 2013 - 15:54 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

Dear Partners in Vector Control,

We are pleased to update you on the status of the newly-established Pan-African Mosquito Control Association. Comprised of vector control and research professionals from Africa and beyond, our membership base has been growing rapidly as we combine efforts towards an Africa free of mosquito-borne diseases.

We invite you to:

A must-see: Sonia Shah about malaria (TED)

September 12, 2013 - 20:34 -- Bart G.J. Knols

It is not very often that we see a talk exclusively on malaria at a global TED event. And now there is a new one. Anyone that has an interest in malaria by now should have heard about Sonia Shah. She wrote the excellent book 'The Fever' in 2010, a book that received praise around the world. Shah has now condensed the book in a 15 minute talk. She does so in a simple yet authorative manner that is clear even to someone that has never heard about malaria.

Basically she describes three reasons why it is so hard to tackle malaria in its heartland: Africa. First, the complexity of the disease and the challenges we continue to face to either combat the parasite or its vector make it a tough disease to conquer. True. Parasite resistance to drugs, vector resistance to insecticides, the difficulty of making a potent vaccine, it all adds up to what may seem an impossible task. Second, she talks about economics, the costs involved and the lack of the myriad of resources needed (health facilities, trained staff, control personnel and so on) to do a thorough job. Again true. And third she talks about indifference and the fact that malaria is as engrained in developing country nations as a simple cold or flu in the North. Hmmm, food for thought.

Artemisia ketone, phytosterols and lipid metabolism.

September 11, 2013 - 18:35 -- Pierre Lutgen

Artemisia ketone is the major constituent of essential oil of many artemisia plants, often up to 60 %. A lot of research work has been devoted to other constituents like artemisinin, scopoletine, limonene, eucalyptol, borneol, luteolin, eupatin, casticin, but artemisia ketone is completely absent in the scientific literature. The molecule had been discovered in Artemisia annua in 1938 ( WA Jacobs et al., Annual Review of Biochemistry 7,1-193) but then fell into oblivion.

Film: The magic tea: A cure and prevention for malaria

August 22, 2013 - 20:26 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The film below was submitted to MalariaWorld by Dr. Pierre Lutgen.

On several occasions Patrick Ogwang from Uganda and Pierre Lutgen from Luxemburg have informed us on encouraging developments with herbal medicine in Africa, more particularly Artemisia annua. The film shows the program of the Makerere University sponsored by the Ministry of Health of Uganda.

Mosquito laser back on the scene

August 20, 2013 - 21:35 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Since my blog on MalariaWorld about Intellectual Ventures' invention to shoot down mosquitoes with laser beams, back in 2010, it has been very quiet. We have not seen any progress with this approach, but this week the TED talk by Nathan Myhrvold features in the Huffington Post (as part of their TEDWeekends section). I was invited to submit a blog in response to this renewed attention for this approach which I titled: Drones that combat malaria.

What do you think? Still a worthy goal or an idea that should be burried?

Artemisia annua tea stronger than chloroquine !

August 10, 2013 - 18:22 -- Pierre Lutgen

Recent results obtained at the AlQuds University in partnership with IFBV-BELHERB from Luxembourg show that freshly prepared infusion of Artemisia annua is stronger than chloroquine in the inhibition of beta-hematin (hemozoin) formation. In the infected erythrocyte the malaria parasite generates large quantities of toxic heme which it has to render innocuous by polymerizing it into hemozoin. The mechanism of quinine and all its derivates, chloroquine, amodiaquine operates by inhibiting this hemozoin crystallization.

Immunosuppression, ACTs and malaria resistance

July 16, 2013 - 06:39 -- Pierre Lutgen

A paradigm change

It was always believed that resistance is provoked by antimalarial drugs; they cause plasmodium to evolve and become tougher. Consequently it was important to kill the last parasite to avoid recrudescence. But Andrew Read (Conference Evolution, Utah, June 21-25 2013) finds that in a weakened immune system parasites multiply to extremely high densities. This pool of parasites contains a larger number of mutants, upping the chances of some having greater virulence potential.

The problem of ACTs: counterfeit or unstable ?

June 15, 2013 - 18:23 -- Pierre Lutgen

A recent paper (K van Acker, J Plaizier, Malaria Journal, 2012-11 Suppl.1) confirms the concern raised by previous publications: “Stability of artemisinin derivatives has so far only been partially investigated and it is unclear how much this contributes to the reports of bad quality or substandard antimalarials” One of the conclusions of this study is that” Artesunate and amodiaquine can only be used in a fixed dose combination if they are physically separated”.

Toward a theory of economic development and malaria

June 12, 2013 - 21:27 -- William Jobin

We know in our hearts that economic development and malaria affect each other. And we can make a pretty good guess at the variables involved. Snowden's book on the suppression of malaria in Italy lists them fairly precisely: literacy, education, agricultural productivity, government stability, etc.

For me, the end of malaria will also coincide with the availability of affordable and reliable electricity, and improved housing with metallic screens on the windows and doors.

Paying authors for Open Access publishing: Open Access 3.0?

June 6, 2013 - 21:18 -- Bart G.J. Knols

This week I wrote on MalariaWorld about the constant email spamming by publishers to submit our manuscripts to them. After receiving yet another invitation today, this time from HINDAWI publisher (who constantly nag me by the way) I started thinking about the future of Open Access. When we started the MalariaWorld Journal, we wanted a journal with a focus on malaria where you don't pay to publish and don't pay to read, which we termed Open Access 2.0. The reasons for this were outlined in my other article this week but here I want to take this a step further and ask a simple question...why should we scientists, who have worked hard to get grants, do the science, analyse the data, and write up manuscripts pay for our work  to be published by a publisher that wants to make profits? So perhaps it is time for Open Access 3.0?

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.

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