News Thursday June 30, 2011

Funding for malaria Research & Development has quadrupled over 16 years, report says

A report into malaria funding has shown a four-fold rise in funds over a sixteen year period, from $121 million to $612 million.

The report, titled “Staying the Course? Malaria Research and Development in a Time of Economic Uncertainty” was commissioned by Roll Back Malaria (RBM) and intended to assess the progress that had been made in reference to funding goals that had been decided by RBM as part of their Global Malaria Action Plan, devised in 2008. The report also made estimations about the future in terms of controlling and eventually eliminating malaria in relation to funding.

The good news on the amount of funding put into malaria research and development - a significant portion of which came from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - was tempered slightly by a warning that even a slight decrease in the amounts of funding could endanger the advances being made in this field. It could also lead to an increase in the cost of fighting malaria in the future.

Thanks to the funding, the product pipeline at present includes a vaccine LINK which is in the late stages of testing and a large number of projects in drug development. In addition to this, there is an “unprecedented number of new insecticide active ingredients for mosquito control” in the pipeline, as well as new diagnostic tests.

Awa Marie Coll-Seck, who is the executive director of RBM, warned that a decrease in funding at this stage would be “a foolish waste of historic opportunity”, as the pipeline that is currently in place gives people “hope that eradication of malaria is possible”.

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