There are seven research spots around the world that have the high designation of International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research. Baltimore-based universities have two of them, and both just received new grants to keep the work of stopping the disease going.
Johns Hopkins’ School of Public Health has a research center that’s working on controlling how malaria spreads, and eventually eliminating the disease. With new funding, the work will expand in Africa.
According to the JHU Hub, the Malaria Research Institute received a $10 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Over the last seven years, researchers have been working in northern Zambia and eastern Zimbabwe. With new funding for the next seven years, the work will expand into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where little control work has been done.
Despite progress against the mosquito-borne disease, the World Health Organization estimates that 212 million people developed the disease globally, and 429,000 people died from it, most of them children under age 5 in Africa, the Hub states.
Monday’s news from Hopkins follows last week’s announcement that University of Maryland School of Medicine received a $9 million grant, which is also for seven years from NIAID. The husband-and-wife research team of Christopher Plowe and Myaing Myaing Nyunt of the university’s Institute for Global Health are looking to develop new tools that will eliminate drug-resistant malaria in Southeast Asia. The work will be based at the new Myanmar Regional Center of Excellence for Malaria Research, and extend to sites in Myanmar, China and Bangladesh.
The stakes are high, as cases involving strains of the disease that can’t be treated with currently available drugs are on the rise in the area. Researchers fear they could spread around the world. However, IGH has a plan to combat it.
“The initial strategy was to try to contain drug-resistant malaria and prevent it from spreading, but our research will help us move forward toward completely eliminating malaria from this region,” said Dr. Plowe in a statement.
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