Your MACEPA Malaria Minute (1/19/17)

From the field—video edition

Round two of mass drug administration (MDA) is underway in Zambia. Watch as MACEPA Senior Program Officer Kafula Silumbe provides some brief thoughts on MDA.

In the news

Researchers at Imperial College London carried out a complex study with mice and humans that proves it’s not the number of mosquito bites but the infectiousness of those bites—the quantity of parasites in a mosquito’s saliva—that determines whether or not someone is infected with malaria. The study, published in PLOS Pathogens, could help explain variations in the effectiveness of vaccines being tested, and could pave the way for development of improved vaccines. Imperial College also put out a podcast on the study—listen here.

Doctors in Colorado used the anti-malaria drug chloroquine to successfully treat a 26-year-old with brain cancer. The young woman became resistant to chemotherapy because of a genetic mutation, and the drug essentially reversed the effect of that mutation, making the cancer cells susceptible to the chemotherapy again. The drug combination treated two other brain cancer patients with similar results. (Via

A review published in Malaria Journal from researchers at University of California, San Francisco, discusses the importance of monitoring high-risk populations as transmission declines during malaria elimination. The authors suggest that “second generation surveillance strategies” be adopted from HIV programs including clearly defining high-risk groups, surveying to understand their behavior, and planning interventions for those groups.

New research conducted in India finds that mosquitoes that transmit malaria don’t just feed and rest on humans, but on nearby cattle too, meaning cattle are often an ignored target of malaria control efforts. The researchers suggest that broadening the coverage of insecticide sprays to include cattle sheds could help reduce transmission. (Via Science Daily.)

Success in the battle against malaria has meant fewer childhood deaths; fewer deaths means longer lives, and with longer lives comes…non-communicable disease (NCD). David Olson, contributor to Huffington Post, says that global health funding is not keeping up with the needs of this shift in the global disease burden. Olson highlights a Novartis initiative to bring medicine for NCDs to low- and middle-income countries as an example of a sustainable strategy with long-term potential.

A four-page list of questions from the incoming administration related to American aid in Africa is circulating around the State Department and the Pentagon. The questions, according to the NYTimes, are “alarming longtime Africa specialists who say the framing and tone of the questions suggest an American retreat from development and humanitarian goals, while at the same time trying to push forward business opportunities across the continent.”

Programmers, coders, and a range of health experts are gathering in Cape Town this week for the World Data Forum with the aim of measuring progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Using malaria as an example, Mapbox blogs about how sophisticated mapping efforts have helped with indoor residual spraying campaigns, and how mapping is helping to identify potential hotspots for malaria in Zambia. (Via Mapbox.)

In a filmed interview with Fast Company, Melinda Gates talks about how she and her husband are “impatient optimists”. She says, “Some of these problems are going to take eight or ten years but we always want to be on that cutting edge and knowing who the great scientists are who are working on problems and combining science with math and with data systems to make change on behalf of the world.”

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