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LSTM to lead $30 million research program into malaria in pregnancy
Date:3/7/2008

The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has received a $30 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the control and treatment of malaria in pregnancy in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The five year programme will directly benefit the 50 million women who face exposure to malaria whilst pregnant every year.

The grant will fund research at Liverpool and at 38 partner institutions in 27 countries around the world. The research consortium is also supported by the European Union, and is seeking additional funding from other donors.

Malaria in pregnancy is a major cause of severe maternal anaemia and preventable low birth weight in infants, which greatly increases risk of death. It is estimated that more effective control of malaria in pregnancy could save the lives of up to 100,000 children every year in Africa alone.

There is less detailed information on the effects of malaria in pregnancy outside Africa. Although transmission rates are lower, natural immunity is also lower, therefore the consequences of malaria infection are more often severe, with a much higher risk of the death of the mother, baby or both.

The primary aims of the research address four key areas:

Burden

  • Obtain a better understanding of the burden of malaria in pregnancy in regions outside Africa where malaria is common.

Treatment

  • Further evaluate which of the new generation of antimalarial drugs can be used safely and effectively for the treatment of pregnant women with malaria in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Prevention

  • Identify safe alternative antimalarials for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy in Africa to replace the commonly used drug sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (to which many malaria parasites have developed resistance).

  • Determine the most effective combinations of drugs and other tools t
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Contact: Alan Hughes
a.p.hughes@liv.ac.uk
44-151-705-3308
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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