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Malaria Experts Call on Federal Government to Increase Support for Research and Development
Date:11/18/2009

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While efforts to control and eliminate malaria have made great strides during the past five years, the looming specter of drug resistance heightens the importance of continued research and development for new tools to assure continued success, according to malaria scientists and public health experts appearing today on Capitol Hill. The briefing, sponsored by the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), PATH, and Malaria No More, was hosted in cooperation with Senators Sam Brownback (KS), Richard Durbin (IL), and Patty Murray (WA), and Congressman Adam Smith (WA). Experts from across the malaria community urged Congress to increase funding for malaria programs focused on developing new antimalarial medications and vaccines.

"Recent progress has emboldened the malaria community to speak of malaria elimination and eradication, and plans have been developed to make this long-term aspiration a reality," commented Dr. Kent Campbell, director of PATH's Malaria Control Program and chair of the ASTMH Advocacy and Policy Committee. "Eliminating malaria will take decades, and success will not be possible without consistent investment in the development of improved tools for controlling malaria. Drug and insecticide resistance is a reality; we need a vaccine that can block infection. If we do not invest in these programs to develop treatment and prevention, there will be devastating effects on the progress made thus far."

Experts pointed out that drug treatment for malaria has historically involved identifying and developing new drugs that had multiple decades of effectiveness, only to witness resistance emerging over time. According to Dr. Alan Magill, director of Experimental Therapeutics at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and chair of Clinical Groups at ASTMH, "Today, the best drugs we have remaining to treat malaria are the artemisinin-containing combination regim
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SOURCE The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
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