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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

6 innovations scientists hope will end malaria

ARUSHA, TANZANIA: A fter being abandoned as too ambitious in 1969, global plans to eliminate malaria are back on the agenda, with financial backing from the world 's richest couple, Bill and Melinda Gates , and U.S. President Barack Obama. The Gateses aim to eradicate malaria by 2040 by doubling funding over the next decade to support the roll out of new products to tackle rising drug resistance against the disease. Their goal of permanently ending transmission of
the disease between humans and mosquitoes is more ambitious than the Sustainable Development Goal of ending epidemic levels of malaria by 2030. They are also supporting a push to create the world's first vaccine against a parasite. Six innovations scientists are working on are: 
New insecticides 
Mosquitoes are becoming resistant to insecticides used to spray inside homes and in bed nets. "There is no current insecticide that doesn't show insect-resistance at the moment," said Jed Stone, a spokesman for the UK-based Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC). Indoor spraying of walls with insecticide -- which was used to wipe out malaria in the United States in the 1940s -- has fallen by 40 percent since 2012 due to resistance to older products and the high cost of newer ones. The IVCC is developing three new insecticides for use in indoor sprays and bed nets that kill insecticide-resistant mosquitoes. "The insecticides are virtually ready but it will take about five years to finally develop them," Stone said, adding that this largely involves registration with regulators. A single-dose cure 
A pill that would wipe out all parasites in the body could be available by 2019, the Gates Foundation says. Human trials of one candidate are planned following successful tests on mice, published in 2015. Existing drugs have to be taken for three days with the risk that people do not finish their medication, contributing to the development of drug-resistant malaria. They also only kill parasites at the asexual-stage where they cause fever but not at the sexual-stage where they are picked up by mosquitoes in blood
Insecticide-treated wall liners 
Scientists hope insecticide-treated wall liners, which look like wallpaper, will be more effective than spraying people's homes with insecticide every three to eight months. The wall liners kill mosquitoes that rest on them and can last for three years. Tanzania's National Institute for Medical Research is testing wall liners in 6,000 homes to see if they protect people from malaria. Results will be published in 2017 .

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