Microsoft boss boosts malaria research at Durham
(29 October 2007)
Three Durham University malaria researchers will share in a grant of almost £10 million.
The grant, given for the study of malaria, comes from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Dr Gerry Killeen, Dr Ulrike Fillinger, and Professor Steve Lindsay from the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Durham University, are involved in a five-year research programme to evaluate existing malaria control methods in urban Africa and design improved systems for delivering malaria control. Currently, more than one million people die of malaria each year, the vast majority being infants and very young children. The consortium involved in the research programme, led by the University of Notre Dame, will work closely with partners in Africa and Indonesia. In particular, the work will support the Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre (IHRDC) and the Urban Malaria Control Programme (UMCP) to establish Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as the primary site in Africa where urban malaria transmission and control will be investigated with support from BMGF. The BMGF was established in 2000 by Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, to help fund programmes working to reduce inequality and help people lead healthy, productive lives. Dr Gerry Killeen said: “Even though over half the population of Africa will live in towns and cities by 2030, very little is known about malaria transmission in urban Africa and control measures specific to this context remain to be proven. “This grant will allow us to provide answers for national malaria control programmes with information on planning and implementing control measures.” Earlier this year, Dr Killeen’s research suggested that using insecticide-treated bed nets may effectively combat malaria if they are used by population groups not usually targeted by health authorities. The research, published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine, suggested that protecting half of all older children and adults would substantially enhance the protection of the more vulnerable groups, such as younger children and pregnant women.