GMO mosquitos as flying malaria ‘vaccinators’

A new research study in the journal Insect Molecular Biology is making news headlines around the world this week. As reported on March 19 in The Telegraph newspaper online, the study reveals that “scientists in Japan have engineered an insect producing a natural vaccine protein in its saliva which is injected into the bloodstream when it bites.” Scientists are still working on developing an effective malaria vaccine, so the study was very much a “proof of concept,” said the study leader Professor Shigeto Yoshida, from Jichi Medical University in Shimotsuki, Japan. Professor Yoshida also said that “Ethical considerations may also get in the way of using “flying vaccinators” to control malaria. Read more at www.genengnews.com.

Advertisements

Malaria prevention program luanches in Bengo

As part of the Angola National Malaria Control Program’s effort to scale-up malaria prevention and treatment services, members of the Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA), thePresident’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the Government of Angola, USAID’s implementing partner Research Triangle Institute International (RTI) and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria kicked off a series of training workshops in Bengo yesterday. Participants are being trained in techniques for using a variety of malaria intervention products, such as long-lasting, insecticide-treated malaria nets and indoor residual sprays.

Other partners in the effort include the World Health Organization African Regional Office. Lead corporate sponsorship is by the Chevron Corporation, with additional private sector support from Halliburton, Bayer, Sumitomo Chemical, Cameron International and Vestergaard Frandsen. According to EarthNet:

At present the country is implementing a nation wide program for larval control- including all the cities in the country. This program is integrated with a massive distribution program of insecticide treated nets and localized indoor and outdoor spraying in a selective and sustainable manner, making these valuable actions in the fight against malaria in Angola. With this training, the National Malaria Control Program will create institutional capacity for vector control at the local level and create conditions for Angola to develop a pilot project in Africa for Integrated control of vector borne diseases. (Nilton Saraiva, Angola National Malaria Control Program)

Tanzania launches anti-malaria campaign

Tanzania’s government has introduced a nationwide anti-malaria  awareness campaign titled “Malaria Haikubaliki: Tushirikiane Kuitokomeza” (Malaria is unacceptable: Working together, we can eliminate malaria).  As reported on September 25, 2010 in Tanzania’s This Day newspaper:

The country, arguably one of the leaders in the global fight against malaria, recently introduced an anti malaria campaign – Malaria Haikubaliki –  which involves all sectors of the society including entertainment, business, sport and religion sectors in the battle against malaria across the country.

In spearheading the campaign, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare joined hands with prominent Tanzanian musicians, international partners, senior government officials and  the business sector to stage the Zinduka! (“Wake Up!”) Concert scheduled to take place on February 13, this year at the Leaders’ Club in Dar es Salaam …

The objective of the effort is to increase practices to prevent malaria such as consistently sleeping under an insecticide treated mosquito net, detecting and treating malaria early; and ensuring antenatal care for pregnant women…

The national campaign is anchored at the community and household level by community mobilization activities implemented by Population Services International (PSI) and Johns Hopkins University and district advocacy activities led by Voices II.

At the same time, Tanzania Red Cross is conducting Hang Up and Keep Up campaigns across the country. From the faith community, Malaria Haikubaliki is joined by the Christian Social Services Commission and Bakwata (the National Muslim Council) to engage faith leaders and their congregations in the effort to combat malaria nationwide.

On September 23, 2009, Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete became the head of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) which was launched at the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The alliance is comprised of seventeen African Heads of State working to end malaria-related deaths. Angola is not a member of ALMA.

Africa Cup football teams join to fight malaria

The United Against Malaria Partnership (UAM) has launched a major media campaign to fight malaria during the 27th edition of the African Nations Cup in Angola, which kicked off on January 10. The campaign includes a series of television spots featuring African football stars and United Against Malaria youth ambassador Charles Ssali. The spots are airing during broadcasts of the Cup which runs until  January 31 in the cities of Luanda, Lubango, Cabinda and Benguela.

A spokesman for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, Herve Verhoosel, told media “We will use the power of football to communicate on malaria prevention. When a player speaks on TV or on the radio or in the press, when the player says to the young children, ‘Sleep under a bed net,’ people are listening.”

According to VOANEWS, “Angola’s national football association this week joined similar associations from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia and the United States in the anti-malaria group. Other members include the national teams of Mali and Tanzania and European Champions Barcelona of Spain.”

The partnership, which is supported by international donors and corporate sponsors including ExxonMobil and Sumitomo Chemical, will extend the media campaign to the football World Cup which kicks off in June in South Africa.

Livingstone got it right

In 1958, anthropologist Frank Livingstone predicted that malaria originated in chimpanzees. Now scientists are proving him right…

Ague, tertian fever, quartan fever, paludism. Malaria has been known about since ancient times and has gone under many names. Today, it kills over a million people a year, most of them young children. Where it originally came from, though, has been a matter of scientific debate for half a century. In 1958 Frank Livingstone, a noted anthropologist, suggested that Plasmodium falciparum (which is by far the deadliest of the several parasites that cause human malaria) had jumped into Homo sapiens from chimpanzees. He speculated that the rise of agriculture had led to human encroachment on wild forests, giving the chimp version of the bug, P. reichenowi, the chance to find a new host. A rival camp, however, argued that P. falciparum was a variant of P. gallinaceum, a parasite found in chickens. A paper just published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences shows that Livingstone got it right.

Read more in “Human malaria started in chimpanzees” – an article published on August 4, 2009 in The Economist print edition and online at http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14162364

New findings about malaria in Luanda

Read some recently published information about malaria in urban Luanda:

  • Download a PDF of the five page report published in March 2009 in The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene journal, titled: “How Much Malaria Occurs in Urban Luanda, Angola? A Health Facility-Based Assessment”
  • Download a PDF  of the ‘Health facility-based evaluation of malaria in Luanda, Angola March 17-31, 2008′ poster

Thank you to USAID in Angola’s malaria experts Dr. Mihigo and Dr. Saute for providing the Angola MosquitoNet Project with this material .