Malaria Eradication? Not Yet

Facing several years of stalled progress against malaria, WHO experts warned in a report today that new tools are needed before eradication can seriously be considered.

“Business as usual is not only slowing progress, but it is sending us backwards,” said Marcel Tanner, chair of the Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication, in a news release.
 
The experts refused to set a date, create a plan or estimate costs for eradication, The Guardian reports. WHO has long been skittish about eradication because of the failed 1955-1969 global malaria eradication program.
 
New medicines, vaccines and insecticides that will get malaria under control must come first, said Pedro Alonso, WHO global malaria program director, told Reuters
 
Takeaways:

  1. Less than 1% of R&D funding for health targets new tools against malaria. 
  2. Even in the best scenarios, the experts still expect 11 million cases of malaria in Africa in 2050. 
  3. A $34 billion scale-up of existing interventions could prevent an additional 4 million deaths by 2030—and yield a $283 billion economic benefit. 

Malaria kills 400,000 people each year—more than 90% of whom are in sub-Saharan Africa.

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