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

ens, which are saving lives every day. But recent reports from the Thai-Cambodian border show delayed parasite clearance with the artemisinins which may be the first sign of emerging drug resistance." Dr. Magill points out that resistance to artemisinins may be a result of illegal availability, sale, and use of artemisinin monotherapies, a practice that has been condemned by the World Health Organization, which calls for policies to eliminate the practice that threatens success in the war on malaria.

Hope on the Horizon

Experts at the Capitol Hill briefing called for further funding for research into vaccines that could ultimately block malaria infection. Currently, hope hangs on RTS,S, the world's most clinically advanced malaria vaccine candidate which is now in Phase III testing. The trial will involve as many as 16,000 young children and infants and is underway at sites in seven African countries, including three sites in Kenya.

"This is the final stage of testing in Africa. If all goes well in this trial, RTS,S could be the first-ever malaria vaccine and could save hundreds of thousands of lives," commented Dr. Patricia W. Njuguna, of the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya and a principal investigator in the trial. "As a pediatrician working near the coast of Kenya, where malaria still persists despite rollout of current prevention methods, I regularly see the tragedy of young children dying of the disease and the grief of parents who couldn't protect them. My hope is that the international community will be ready to support the availability of this vaccine, if approved, so that the children in Kenya and other African countries will have access to it as soon as possible. There are lives to be saved."

Dr. Tom Monath, a partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who spent 25 years in public service, saluted the US government for being "a major source of support for ma
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SOURCE The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
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