However, this unprecedented level of malaria R&D activity is not necessarily all good news. The report’s authors found that the high number of malaria vaccine candidates was the result of scientific and technical gaps and lacking policy coordination rather than a reflection of cohesive global activity. Lack of coordination and planning mean that invested funding and efforts are not delivering as much as they should, and may be costing donors tens of millions of dollars.
According to Dr Mary Moran, the report’s lead author, improved vaccine research co-ordination and investment decisions could save more than USD20 million over 5 years and prevent up to 3,000 unnecessary test vaccinations in African children. “The most tantalizing finding was that these high-impact policy interventions – and the resulting savings - are well within reach if donors and developers can work together”, said Dr Moran. “We need a system to ensure that fewer and better vaccine candidates enter clinical trials in Africa”.
On the drug front, the report welcomed the arrival of new anti-malarials after a dearth of many decades, but noted that this meant donors, purchasers and developing countries are now faced with the challenge of working out which of the many competing products offer the best cost-benefit for African populations, and the funding of very large and expensive studies which are needed to determine this. Post-registration trials of tens to hundreds of thousands of patients will be needed to ensure that these new drugs are appropriately absorbed by already strained health systems and appropriately delivered to malaria patients.
Over the past year, Dr Mary Moran and her team from The George Institute, supported by the Global Forum for Health Research through World Bank funding, engaged with main stakeholders in the malaria field to provide donors with a 5-year map of the future, including what malaria products are in the pipeline, how much donors will need to spend to move them towards success, and where this spending should focus. Key findings were:The additional cost for clinical development of the global malaria vaccine and drug portfolio over the next 5 years is likely to be around $US 600 million
A substantial proportion of this (e.g. up to 60% in the case of vaccine trials) will go to Africa. This represents a very large injection of business funding into Africa
Up to US $250 million may go to small Western drug companies and Contract Research Organizations and to developing country manufacturers: again, a substantial injection of funds into desired growth areas.
The report also debunks some common beliefs about African capacity (or lack thereof). In particular, the notion that Africa needs investment to build new malaria trial sites, and that existing African trial sites could be sustainable if they were only more business-like. “Sustainability is a myth”, said Dr Moran, “at least under current conditions. Currently, many donors and developers strangle a site’s ability to stay afloat because they routinely pay project overheads that are well below costs, and are resistant to providing core funding. No Western institution could survive under those conditions.”
More encouragingly, the report noted that well-planned and sustained donor investment since 2000 means that, if well managed, we now have enough malaria trial sites in Africa to meet all likely future demand out to 2012 and probably well beyond. “Funders and trial sites can justly congratulate themselves on their site capacity-building efforts in Africa in the last 10 years”, said Dr Moran. “However, this also means the time has come to move on from building new product trial sites in Africa to supporting current sites in a sustainable way.”
“The key to success in the next five years will be providing the right amount of funding in the right places supported by the right policies,” said Professor Stephen Matlin, Executive Director of the Global Forum for Health Research. “We hope this report helps donors and product developers reach that goal.”
WHO estimates that 300 - 500 million new malaria infections occur per year, resulting in more than 1.2 million deaths annually. The overwhelming majority of these deaths are in children under five years of age and in pregnant women.
Spread of deadly eye cancer halted in cells and animals
13.11.2018 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Breakthrough in understanding how deadly pneumococcus avoids immune defenses
13.11.2018 | University of Liverpool
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Awards Funding