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It is my great pleasure to start working with Malaria Partners International to reach its goal: world-wide elimination of malaria. I hope that by collecting and distributing the most up-to-date information on the subject, I can facilitate the work in which Malaria Partners International and the malaria prevention community is engaged.

In this and future newsletters, I will focus on four categories of information: Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Campaigns.  The format of this report is experimental; please let me know if a different format might better suit Malaria Partners International’s readership.  While unable to reproduce the documents themselves, I plan to summarize the contents of the cited publications and will keep them, if available, or at least the abstracts in an organized archive.

Prevention: In September 2019, Kenya became the third country in which a pilot program using the vaccine against the P. falciparum (RTS,SAS01) malaria strain in children was initiated.  The other two are Malawi and Ghana. GlaxoSmithKline is conducting a Phase IV study of the vaccine in these countries.

Cateruccia F published “Mosquitoes get a leg up on insecticides” in Nature 577, 16 January 2020. “A chemosensory protein enriched in the legs of malaria-carrying mosquitoes gives the resistance to insecticides used to treat bed nets.”

Metzger WG, Sulyok Z, Theurer A, Köhler C,  “Development of Malaria Vaccines-State of the Art” in Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz, 63 (1), 45-55 Jan 2020 is a review in German of the current status of malaria vaccine research, development, and deployment.

Diagnosis: Kariuki SN & Williams TN published “Human Genetics and Malaria Resistance” in Human Genetics in March 2020. To quote: “Around one third of the variability in the risk of severe and complicated malaria is now explained by additive host genetic effects. Many individual variants have been identified that are associated with malaria protection, but the most important all relate to the structure or function of red blood cells.”

Poti KE et al. discuss the pitfalls of rapid diagnostic testing for P. falciparum in “HRP2: Transforming Malaria Diagnosis but with Caveats”, in Trends in Parasitology 36(2), February 2020.  “Here, we review the discovery and biology of HRP2, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of HRP2-based diagnosis compared with alternative antigens.”

Barros Pinto MP & Marques G published images of hematologic findings in severe malaria to aid in diagnosis in Infection 48(1)m February 2020

Treatment: Haston JC et al from CDC published “Guidance for Using Tafenoquine for Prevention and Antirelapse Therapy for Malaria — United States, 2019” in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 68(46) in November 2020. The title says it all.  Article available from MMWR.

Campaigns:  WHO published a technical brief (WHO technical brief for countries preparing malaria funding requests for the Global Fund [2020–2022]. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019) for countries preparing malaria funding requests for the years 2020-22.  The document summarizes all the current WHO recommendations; a more complete set of recommendations can be found at Compendium of WHO malaria guidance: prevention, diagnosis, treatment, surveillance and elimination. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019 (https://apps.who.int/iris/ bitstream/handle/10665/312082/WHO-CDS-GMP-2019.03-eng.pdf)

Quotable: Here is an excerpt from WHO’s statement as of 25 March 2020: “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread, WHO would like to send a clear message to malaria-affected countries in Africa,” said Dr. Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme. “Do not scale back your planned malaria prevention, diagnostic and treatment activities. If someone living in a place with malaria develops a fever, he or she should seek diagnosis and care as soon as possible.”