Malaria research and development

There is currently no malaria vaccine approved for human use. However, many scientists around the world are working on developing an effective vaccine.

Whilst drug research and development (R&D) is expensive and time consuming, there remains a pressing need to keep ahead of drug resistance and provide effective treatment. According to the World Malaria Report 2005 at least US$ 30 million a year is required for core research into the development of new effective and inexpensive antimalarial drugs, new safe insecticide technology and malaria diagnostics.

Malaria has historically been a neglected disease for drug development. Between 1975 and 2004 around 1,556 new drugs were approved worldwide of which only 8 (0.5%) were for malaria.

Most current research into new treatments is funded by the private sector – either pharmaceutical or petrochemical (insecticide) companies. Public-private partnerships also exist for product development and play a vital role in translating scientific research into life-saving solutions. Support from trusts and foundations is also becoming increasingly important.

Climatic influences

Climatic factors such as temperature, humidity and rainfall play an important role in where malaria is found. What is not yet clear is what affect climate change might have on the geographical spread and intensity of malaria. Whilst some scholars predict that malaria could move into more moderate climate regions due to temperature increase, others believe that a reduction in rainfall and standing water could reduce malaria in endemic areas.

Malaria report 2020