World Malaria Day 2019

This year’s World Malaria Day theme is zero malaria starts with me, something that resonates particularly strongly here at FIND, as elimination of any infectious disease just isn’t possible without effective diagnostics to find patients and track progress.

Developing new tools and assessing them to ensure they are up to the job is an urgent priority, and we are happy to have announced this week that work is underway to support local registration of a new rapid test that uses a finger-prick blood sample to simultaneously detect malaria infection and presence of C-reactive protein (an indicator for possible bacterial infection). By combining these two tests, healthcare workers will not only be able to diagnose malaria but will also have data for action in the event that the malaria test is negative. Our integrated approach to tackling fever and malaria – enabling us to start with the patient, not the disease – is highlighted in our contribution to this year’s Fight Against Malaria campaign.

Following our in-country evaluations, this week we are also celebrating the launch of the first commercially available molecular diagnostic test that can differentiate between different species of malaria parasite.

Alongside these development milestones, we are making good progress with work that has the potential to predict P. vivax relapse through biomarkers – with a research-use rapid test now moving into the clinical evaluation phase. Further, we have completed the addition of fever biomarkers to our Bm2Dx database, providing an important resource for researchers and developers to accelerate the development of a test that can differentiate bacterial from non-bacterial infections.

Finally, the first Malaria No More UK Commonwealth Honours event last night collectively honoured all PDPs working on malaria, highlighting best practice, partnerships, and innovation in support of the Commonwealth Malaria commitment to reduce malaria burden by 50% within 5 years.

Hopefully, the next World Malaria Report will indicate that the efforts of the whole community are paying off, and together we are back on track to defeat this disease.