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Last week at MalariaWorld: Genetically modified mosquitoes against malaria

November 27, 2015 - 10:41 -- Ingeborg van Schayk
Congratulations MESA
It is one year ago that MESA launched its new initiative to share information on malaria research projects called MESA Track. MalariaWorld congratulates MESA with this wonderful intitiative! Read MESA Track One Year Anniversary here.
Genetically modified mosquitoes to resist malaria
This week the press reported widely about the success of scientists at the University of California that have managed to modify a mosquito gene to make the insect's system turn on the malaria bug — and that the mosquitos will pass that gene on to successive generations. This technique still needs further testing and could be an add on to other malaria control techniques. A scientific succes and a public challenge.
Here are some news articles worth reading:
Pierre Lutgen and Mutaz Akkawi have contributed a new story in their Artemisia annua series... We welcome you to read his story: Zinc and beta-hematin inhibition.
Enjoy this week's MalariaWorld - the MW team
and we look forward to receiving your manuscripts!

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New from MESA: MESA Track One Year Anniversary!

November 27, 2015 - 07:00 -- MESA Alliance

The MESA Track database is now one year old. Thanks to your collaboration, the database has grown to 700 projects over the past year. MESA Track is an open and online platform for sharing information on current research projects relevant to malaria elimination.

More than 25 institutions from across the world have shared their full research portfolio in MESA Track, including institutions working on basic science, product development and operational research.

Zinc and beta-hematin inhibition

November 25, 2015 - 07:52 -- Pierre Lutgen

Our partners at the Al Quds University in Palestine have found that a zinc-arginine complex strongly inhibits beta-hematin crystallization, like quinine does, but that zinc or arginine alone are not effective. Arginine and zinc play an important role in the human physiology. The plants from the Artemisia family are rich in these constituents which play probably a key role against malaria and other diseases. They easily form a complex in a large range of reagent concentrations (E Bottari et al., Monatshefte Chemie 2014, 145, 1707-1714).

Frightening: antibiotics enhance malaria transmission!

November 17, 2015 - 10:54 -- Pierre Lutgen

A blog posted on on June 21. 2014 « Aspirin and artemisinin, beware » and another one on July 8 of the same year « Antiretrovirals and antimalarials : a deadly mix » had already highlighted the fact that drugs sold on a large scale in Africa showed strong antagonism with several antimalarial drugs. ARVs reduce the concentration of artemether , quinine, malarone in the blood. Aspirin has an effect on the endothelium and platelet adherence.

Nitrite therapy for cerebral malaria

November 12, 2015 - 08:34 -- Pierre Lutgen

A paper published twenty years ago should have attracted more attention (NM Anstey et al., J Exp Med 1996, 184, 557-567) : the suppression of NO synthesis in cerebral malaria appears to enhance pathogenesis and increased NO synthesis protects against clinical disease. The work was based on in vivo results obtained in Tanzanian children. Already five years earlier the killing of Plasmodium falciparum in vitro by nitric oxide derivatives (NO, nitrite, nitrate) had been demonstrated (KA Rockett et al., Infection and Immunity, 1991, 59, 3280-3283).

Report: RBM-VCWG Consensus statement on housing and malaria

November 8, 2015 - 16:11 -- Bart G.J. Knols
This Consensus Statement on Housing and Malaria, released this month by the Vector Control Working Group of RBM, aims to review current evidence on the interaction between incremental housing improvements and malaria and to identify opportunities to contribute to global efforts for the control and elimination of malaria in line with the Global Technical Strategy (GTS) and Action and Investment to defeat Malaria (AIM). It is hoped that this docu‐ ment will encourage broader partnerships to realise the full potential of this promising complimentary approach and will help focus the research efforts required. Key actions for endemic countries and their partners are listed in the attached report. 
The full report is attached below.

New from MESA: Save the date – February 19-23, 2017 Keystone Symposia

November 6, 2015 - 07:30 -- MESA Alliance

Save the Date for the 2017 Keystone Symposia - February 19-23, 2017, Kampala (Uganda) - conference on:

Malaria: From Innovation to Eradication

Organized in collaboration with MESA, this symposium provides a space for malaria eradication scientists to share new information and advance the scientific debate.

Ammonia, arginine and cerebral malaria

October 31, 2015 - 14:49 -- Pierre Lutgen

Plasmodium falciparum generates substantial amounts of ammonia as a metabolic by-product, but lacks detoxification mechanisms (S Kimoloi et al., Hypothesis and Theory, 2015, 9,article 234). It imports large amounts of glutamine from the host serum. Deamidation and deamination reactions generate two molecules of ammonia per glutamine molecule, particularly in the early trophozoite stages (T Zeuthen et al., Mol Microbiol 2006, 61, 1598-608).

Message from Dr. Pedro Alonso -Director, Global Malaria Programme (WHO)

October 30, 2015 - 07:23 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The message below, from Dr. Pedro Alonso, the Director of WHO's Global Malaria Programme was circulated today, 24 October 2015.

Dear colleagues and partners, 
In recent weeks, you may have seen press articles stating that the United Nations and partners are calling on the world to eradicate malaria by the year 2040. 
The World Health Organization (WHO) shares the vision of a malaria-free world and – to that end – we welcome the commitment of all of our partners. However, I would like to clarify the strategy, targets and timeline that our organization has endorsed at this point in time. 

Why do novel vector control tools have to be perfect if the RTS,S vaccine isn't?

October 22, 2015 - 21:46 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Last month there was great news for the malaria world: A detailed analysis of the impact of insecticide-treated bednets (LLINs), ACTs, and indoor residual spraying (IRS), showed that some 6.2 million deaths and 700 million cases were averted between 2000-2015, mostly since 2005. Add up the contribution of the vector control components, and it shows that 78% of all the gains originated from just these two tools: LLINs and IRS. Is it safe to draw the conclusion from this that vector control is and shall remain the integral and critical component that will lead us to a world without malaria by 2040? I think the answer to that is 'yes, very much so'.

How to explain the high solubility of artemisinin in Artemisia annua infusions?

October 20, 2015 - 08:37 -- Pierre Lutgen

A review paper published by Frank van der Kooy in 2013 (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 150, 1-13) revived our interest in the question why the solubility of artemisinin is higher in Artemisia annua infusions than for the pure substance in distilled water.

Solar powered fans, LED lights and mosquitoes

October 14, 2015 - 18:02 -- William Jobin

We need ways to improve the use of bednets because they are so hot to sleep under, and a group in Ghana is working on this. Peter Nardini and some friends from the US Peace Corps are testing a way to sleep comfortably under a bednet by installing small solar-powred fans inside the nets, along with lights and cell-phone battery chargers. Their website is 'Green World Health Net', and they are doing exciting things with these ideas, in a village on the coast of Ghana. You can contact them for info at;

News from MESA: The Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB) joins the MESA Track database

October 8, 2015 - 17:13 -- MESA Alliance
The Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB) of the United States Department of Defense, in collaboration with MESA, has included its research portfolio on the MESA Track database. Click here to access the AFPMB portfolio.

The ambiguous role of glutathione in malaria

October 3, 2015 - 19:41 -- Pierre Lutgen

Parasites are endowed with powerful and host-independant mechanisms which de novo synthesize or regenerate reduced glutathione (GSH) and protect the parasites from oxidative damage. GSH can penetrate from the extracellular space into the host cytosol but the parasite membrane is impermeable to peptides (H Atamna et al., Eur J Biochem 1997, 15, 670-9).. Glutathione is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants. It is a tripeptide formed by the amino acids glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid. It inhibits the action of arginine which produces NO and expels it from the food vacuole.

In Memoriam: Dr. Alan Magill

September 25, 2015 - 08:38 -- Bart G.J. Knols

It is with profound sadness that we took notice today of the untimely death of Dr. Alan Magill, who headed the malaria programme at the Gates Foundation in Seattle. Below we copy the press release from the Gates Foundation.

I met Alan for the first time in Durban, South Africa, during the MIM meeting in 2013. This was not long after he had taken up his new position at the Gates Foundation. This was the man that everyone out of the 1500+ participants would like to talk to, and it was a great privilege that he took some time to sit down and chat with me. It struck me immediately how pleasant Alan was to interact with. Down-to-earth, direct, and above all with passion did he speak of his mission to free the world of malaria. And I vivdly remember his following words: 'Being with the Foundation now gives me the real opportunity to make a difference in this world'.

The second time we met was when I visited the Foundation in January this year. As ever, Alan was pleasant and at the same time razor sharp. He needed two words to understand your full story. Over lunch his passion got hold of him when he stood up and expressed his frustration that we were all going too slow - that we needed to get new technology to the field quicker. Every live mattered, and waiting would only lead to unnecessary waste of lives. So true.

The world has lost a great malariologist. It is now upon us to follow in his footsteps and end malaria.

The MESA Alliance shares heartfelt condolences for the loss of Alan Magill

September 25, 2015 - 07:53 -- MESA Alliance

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

On behalf of the MESA Alliance, we wanted to share our heartfelt condolences for the loss of Alan Magill.

Alan held a deep-rooted belief that humankind should and could defeat malaria. He made an extraordinary commitment towards realising this goal.

Report: Landscape of new vector control products

September 23, 2015 - 19:37 -- Bart G.J. Knols

VectorWorks is pleased to announce the release of a new report, Landscape of New Vector Control Products written by Michael MacDonald. The report covers the spectrum of new vector control products, highlighting descriptions of how each of the tools work; general timelines for their implementation; and limitations of each approach. While these tools are unlikely to be as widely scalable as IRS and ITNs, they are promising components of an Integrated Vector Management strategy.

The report is attached below. 

E-interview with Dr. Silas Majambere (Burundi, 1975)

September 23, 2015 - 12:59 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Dr. Silas Majambere is a medical entomologist who took up the position od senior scientist with the Innovative Vector Control Consortium recently. MalariaWorld asked Silas about his past work and future ambitions in the field of malaria elimination.
You have been working directly in the field of operational malaria control in The Gambia using larval control. What is your current opinion on the role of larval control? Is it indeed a matter of ‘few, fixed, and findable’ sites or is there a wider role for larval control?
I have spent four years in The Gambia investigating the role of larviciding for malaria control. The program covered 400 km2 of floodplains with ground teams of spraymen applying Bacillus thuringiensis Israelensis (Bti) weekly to all water bodies we had previously mapped. This was indeed hard work at +40 degrees Celsius, and I commend the team that took the task. Unfortunately we only had a small impact on adult mosquito density and were not able to show a reduction in malaria prevalence following the larviciding program.
There were two main reasons we were not able to show impact: (1) the extent of the floodplains is simply too large to spray by ground teams, unless bigger teams are deployed; (2) Gambia river is highly tidal and Bti is likely to have been washed away after application.
Larval source management (LSM) has a role in malaria control, and it is not just my opinion, but it is historically proven (Brazil, Israel, USA, etc.). Although I understand the caution around “few, fixed and findable”, those terms are very relative and should not distract us.
Many African countries have adopted LSM for malaria control, and it is one of the tools in their Strategic Plans. While the scientific community is debating, the train has moved, and we’d better catch up and support the countries adopt best practices for LSM, including robust monitoring and evaluation, and use of WHOPES recommended products. With the technology we have today, I believe we can design better LSM programs than 80 years ago in Brazil.

Eradication or suppresion?

September 21, 2015 - 11:36 -- William Jobin

What are the benefits of eradicating malaria, compared to suppressing it?

Eradication is a distant goal, perhaps one not attainable in our lifetime – perhaps never. Even its definition is somewhat vague, as there are so many forms of malaria. However suppression of malaria transmission is real and immediately attainable, something we are actually doing right now, in various degrees.

Why can't WHO give out accurate data about bednets ?

September 19, 2015 - 20:14 -- William Jobin

This month’s report by WHO/UNICEF on ‘Achieving the Malaria MDG Target’ indicated that over 50% of Congolese children sleep under bednets. However these overly optimistic assertions are contradicted by a careful malaria survey conducted in 2007 in 8,000 households in the Congo, which indicated a blood-slide positivity of 33.5% and only 7% of children sleeping under bednets (Molecular malaria epidemiology…… by Taylor et al DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016420.

Santonin from Artemisia campestris: a famous forgotten anthelmintic.

September 18, 2015 - 06:04 -- Pierre Lutgen

200 years ago, in 1830 the anthelmintic properties of santonin were discovered , simultaneously by Dr Kahler in Düsseldorf and Dr Alms in Mecklenburg in a plant from Turkestan, Artemisia cina. Its presence, although at lower concentrations, was later found in Artemisia maritima, Artemisia campesris, Artemisia gallica, Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia sieberi. (Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft , 1867, Vol 6, 875-1670). Stanislao Cannizzaro is known widely for his , "Sunto di un corso di filosofia chimica", on santonin which he presented at the Karlsruhe Congress of 1860.

Dams can be operated in ways to prevent disease, especially malaria

September 11, 2015 - 16:18 -- William Jobin

I fully support the conclusions of Solomon Kibret and colleagues about the health impact of dams in the tropics, especially regarding diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and aquatic snails.
REF just published in Malaria Journal - Malar J. 2015; 14: 339. Published online 2015 Sep 4. doi: 10.1186/s12936-015-0873-2 PMCID: PMC4560078
The title is : Malaria impact of large dams in sub-Saharan Africa: maps, estimates and predictions
by Solomon Kibret,corresponding author and Jonathan Lautze, Matthew McCartney, G. Glenn Wilson, and Luxon Nhamo.

Cod liver oil: a stronger prophylactic against malaria than vaccines!

September 8, 2015 - 14:24 -- Pierre Lutgen

In 1957 the University of London found that dietary cod liver oil suppressed the multiplication of Plasmodium berghei in mice (DG Godfrey, Experimental Parasitology, 1957, 6, 555-565), of Babesia rodhaini (DG Godfrey, Experimental Parasitology 1957, 6-5, 465-485) and of Trypanosoma congolense (D G Godfrey , Experimental Parasitology, 1958, 3, 255-268).

The making of a PNAS's our story

September 3, 2015 - 20:35 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Once a scientific paper is published online and you can download a pdf of it, this addictive and magnificent feeling gets on to you. This is the fruit of all the hard work: first to get the funding to undertake the research, then the hard work to actually perform all the research, then the hard work to write up the manuscript, then the submission, the reviews, the rebuttal, and eventually acceptance followed by proof reading and then publication. The route from thinking up research to publishing about it is long, tedious, and really hard work. But why don't we ever talk about this route? Why do we publish our papers but don't tell our peers more about how we got there? The fun parts, the sweat and tears, or even the fights? This week we published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS; attached below). And here's the story you don't know when you read the paper...

African Institute for Ecological Suppression of Malaria

August 31, 2015 - 13:42 -- William Jobin

I invite you to help me imagine a solid and realistic approach to malaria control in Africa, rather than continuing our criticism of the current poorly focussed and unsustainable attempts by WHO, RBM and the US PMI. I think we need a permanent Institute where African malaria people can develop, implement and expand anti-malarial measures. Because the current emphasis on drugs, biocides and bednets is inherently unsustainable, let us take a more sensible and rational approach which utilizes ecological changes.

Artemisia annua efficiently cures bilharzia

August 26, 2015 - 19:36 -- Pierre Lutgen

Bilharzia, schistosomiasis, snail fever, is a disease caused by parasitic worms of the Schistosoma type. It may infect the urinary tract or the intestines. Signs and symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloody stool, or blood in the urine. In those who have been infected for a long time, liver damage, kidney failure, infertility, or bladder cancer may occur. Schistosomiasis affects almost 210 million people worldwide, and an estimated 200,000 people die from it a year, 


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