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World Malaria Day: EU Research

According to the World Health Organisation, in 2010, an estimated 219 million malaria cases occurred globally and the disease killed about 660 000 people, mostly children under five years of age.

Since 2002, the EU has invested more than €209 million in 87 projects carrying out research into the disease and how to control it. In addition, through its partnership with sub-Saharan Africa (the EDCTP initiative), the EU is supporting 32 clinical trials into new treatments with some €50 million.

Thanks to the efforts of the EU and international community, as well as governments and health-care providers in endemic countries, malaria deaths have fallen by 25% since the year 2000.

Press release: EU research project develops new malaria test tool

More background information: Contribution of EU research to fight against Malaria

Here are two examples of successful, EU-funded malaria-related research projects:

Mosquito © Shutterstock

Malaria and the cloak of invisibility

An international team of scientists has discovered a key molecule that helps the malaria parasite evade the human body's immune system. Partially funded by the EU-backed EVIMALAR ('Towards the establishment of a permanent European virtual institute dedicated to malaria research') project and presented in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, the findings of this study could provide fresh insight into how the parasite that triggers disease can dodge the defences built by the immune system. EVIMALAR, meanwhile, is funded under the Health Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to the tune of EUR 12 million.

Mosquito © Shutterstock

Why vitamins could be key in fight against malaria

British and German researchers led by the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom have found that vitamins could help fight malaria. The findings of the study, presented in the journal Structure, could encourage the development of more effective drugs to fight this disease. This disorder affects more than 250 million people each year, and kills over 650 000 people. The study was funded in part by a grant under the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).

 

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