Global efforts over the last decades have contributed to dramatic declines in malaria around the world. Progress is also being made on the scientific front; new tools for controlling the disease are now being tested. By investing in proven malaria-control programs and accelerating promising research, we can move closer to the long-term goal of eradicating the disease.
When your goal is just to reduce illness and death caused by malaria, you’re likely to focus most of your energy on Plasmodium falciparum – the deadliest and most common parasite behind the disease. But when you’re trying to end malaria for good – eradicate it from the face of our planet – you have to tackle malaria in all its forms, including P. vivax. This presents additional challenges that require innovation.
When we think about scientific innovation, we tend to imagine the future: new drugs, ground-breaking methods, technologies that push the boundaries of what is possible. But good researchers don’t just look forward; they also reach into the past for inspiration—sometimes centuries into the past. That’s exactly what Dr. Miguel Prudêncio and his colleagues at Lisbon’s Instituto de Medicina Molecular are doing to create a approach to malaria vaccine development: they’re taking their cue from the very first vaccine.