The disappointment and criticism about malaria elimination in Africa is palpable. There is an impression that the campaign of malaria eradication in Africa is sometimes rudderless, with money being thrown uselessly or ineffectively at the problem.
The article below was written by Prof. John Beier, Editor of Acta Tropica, about a special issue of the journal published in March 2012.
This special issue (SI) of Acta Tropica features 20 articles highlighting the activities and plans of 10 NIH/NIAID International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) located in 7 malaria endemic regions of the world. The SI informs readers about diverse and complex malaria issues, and will be of special interest for students, investigators, and policy-makers who need to understand and deal with current challenges for malaria elimination.
This guest editorial was written by Dr. Guy Reeves of the Max-Planck institute in Plön, Germany.
One thing that the poorest living in developing countries recognize is real hazard. What does this mean for those planning to implement genetic control programs?
A new website has just been launched where people can tell their personal stories on how they have benefitted from access to research, or suffered from the lack of it. The new site is called Who needs access? You need access? has been developed by Mike Taylor who is an active member of the @ccess community. Its goal is to tell stories of many different kinds of people — teachers, doctors, artists, politicians, entrepreneurs — who need access to research papers.
I blogged recently that getting the facts out about genetic engineering of mosquitoes would not be enough to persuade those who are hard anti-GM activists that they can be safely developed. I also argued that becoming an activist allowed one to abandon the bothersome constraints of truth. AAAS appears to agree with me, but have they made the right call?
This Guest Editorial was written by Anton Alexander (retired solicitor, UK), based on an online presentation about Palestine and how it freed itself from malaria. No doubt of interest to those studying the history of malaria, but equally important for those that are criticial about malaria elimination.
This month was the 10th anniversary of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, considered by many as the start of the open access movement. In the past 10 years the term open access has come to mean a lot of different things. Publishers have been giving this label to very different kinds of open access. In many cases reading of the articles is all that is allowed but reuse and redistribution are often strictly forbidden. This is in marked contrast to the original definition of Open Access by the BOAI:
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Faculty of Infections & Tropical Diseases
Another group has engineered an anopheline to have a degree of Plasmodium immunity. Some of us hope for a mosquito that is ready to take a trip to the field, but can this one go the distance? Is it advisable?
Year after year in December we're seeing the fruits of our collective efforts to combat malaria reflected in the 'World Malaria Report' series produced by the World Health Organisation. And in those reports, year after year, we saw progression in terms of falling numbers of deaths. But today we're confronted with a harsh reality - the figures that were presented to us were off. Way off.
The openness of scientists involved in the creation of genetic control methods against mosquitoes has been questioned in popular press and activist outlets. Therefore the results of a recent survey on this subject deserve attention. Do scientists want to conduct their research without oversight and public engagement?
This guest editorial was written by Dr. Lotte Van Dijk in The Netherlands.
Many of you will have come across counterfeit or substandard drugs in your careers and I’m sure many of you will understand my frustration. Therefore, I was really happy to see that the study on poor-quality anti-malarials by Dr Paul Newton and his team got the attention of the media. Even though their study was not large-scale and even though it cannot provide an accurate estimation of the prevalence of the fake anti-malarials all over Africa, it does provide an insight into the seriousness of the problem: it is severe!
Platforms like MalariaWorld and so many others offer us the possibility of accessing freely information on malaria research and, importantly, offer us the possibility of engaging in public, healthy, constructive discussions on what we read. In some cases, we can actually have the ‘crème de la crème’ of the respective fields there, at our fingertips, to answer our doubts, our questions and sometimes, why not, our criticism.
Behind the scenes at MalariaWorld, we keep a close eye on where our site visitors originate from. Nothing secretive (and we don't see names, so do not worry!), it's just Google analytics that I receive every single week.
Quick question: For those of you who work in a recombinant DNA lab, what is the most hazardous chemical that you use on a daily basis? To put it another way, what chemical do you ALWAYS wear gloves to handle? Probably the same one that I do, but risk perception and reality aren’t always the same thing.
When it comes to genetic control of mosquitoes, risks are a hot topic, so it’s useful to consider the answer to this question.
Hope your Christmas was full of fun but also renewed and strengthened your relationship with God.
I wish you all a prosperous and healthy New Year 2012 and hopefully malaria cases and deaths will continue to reduce.
The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (MMI), Malaria Research Institute, has an International faculty search for an entomologist/malariologist research associate
at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Institute at Macha (MIAM), Zambia.
The closing date for applications is January 31, 2012.
National and Regional statistics on malaria cases and deaths and related issues such as distribution of treated nets does not reflect the actual situation on the ground. For example, with improvement in surveillance systems following institutional strengthening, some countries recently reported a significant "increase" in Malaria cases and deaths after years of reporting decrease.We are talking about the quality of data collection, analysis, synthesis and dissemination.
At this time, we should be talking about reducing malaria to an acceptable level (pre-elimination) before looking at elimination. We have not achieved pre-elimination yet even in the Americas where tremendous progress in reducing malaria has been achieved.
Organisation: Imperial College London, Division of Cell & Molecular Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, UK
Salary: £31,300 – £33,920 per annum
Closing date: 9 January 2012 (midnight GMT)
• Information is now a social asset and should be made public, for anyone to link, organize, and make more valuable.
• There’s no such thing as “too much” information. More information gives people the hooks to find what they need.
There is recent interest in the odours from human feet and how they attract blood-sucking mosquitoes. And apparently the odours are from bacteria on the skin, not necessarily of human origin.
This reminds me of the story of Ignaz Semmelweis of Vienna who confounded his physician colleagues by reporting that deaths in childbirth could be reduced drastically if the attending physician would just wash his hands. Of course such a radical idea took a long time to be accepted. In fact I think Semmelweis was drummed out of the profession.
This week there is another interesting job opportunity at the university of Glasgow. Read it here. There are two ongoing discussions with more comments and ideas: 'The Truth about GM Mosquitoes is not enough' follow it here and 'Malaria can be eliminated from africa' can be found here .
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Enjoy this weeks MalariaWorld - the MW team.