12 September 2019 | Statements

New data calls for greater focus on innovation to eradicate malaria

Geneva – Unitaid welcomes new findings by the World Health Organization (WHO) and The Lancet that cite innovation, research and development as indispensable factors in eradicating malaria.

The findings, shared this week at a WHO forum, showed that new tools are needed to stop malaria, and recommended more investment in innovations to prevent outdoor mosquito biting, genetic technologies for mosquito control, and better drugs for malaria treatment. The tools now in use are not enough, by themselves, to end the epidemic, the experts found.

Unitaid has tripled its malaria investments over the past two years, and now funds US$ 350 million in innovative projects to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.

The organization is investing in transformative vector-control tools such as more effective bed nets, new insecticides for indoor spraying, spatial repellents that drive mosquitoes from populated areas, and anti-parasitic drugs that kill mosquitoes after they bite humans treated with the drug. Unitaid’s work is also supporting the new RTS,S malaria vaccine, introducing better diagnostic tools for fever in children, and breaking down barriers to better medicines for severe malaria.

“We’re investing in new tools to fight this old foe,” Unitaid Executive Director Lelio Marmora said. “We’re putting mechanisms in place to ensure these innovations against malaria quickly reach everyone who needs them.”

Unitaid is gearing up to launch projects that will develop long-acting medicines against malaria and bring single-dose treatment to the fight against Plasmodium vivax malaria.

WHO’s data comes from the Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication. The Lancet Commission’s report, Malaria Eradication within a Generation: ambitious, achievable, and necessary, was co-authored by Prof. Richard Feachem and 26 global experts.


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