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malERA Refresh collection: an updated research agenda for malaria elimination and eradication

PLOS Medicine announces the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda Refresh collection.

In 2016, an estimated 216 million cases of malaria and 445 000 deaths occurred in the 91 countries with ongoing malaria transmission, mostly affecting children in the African Region. While malaria has been eliminated from many parts of the world, further innovation and investment are crucial to meeting the goal of elimination and eradication globally.

PLOS Medicine is delighted to announce the publication of the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA) Refresh collection,  7 articles that outline a broad new interdisciplinary research agenda with the goal of accelerating malaria elimination and, in the longer term, transforming the malaria community’s ability to eradicate it globally. The introductory article provides an overview, and six review articles cover the main research agenda themes of: 1) basic science and enabling technologies; 2) combination interventions and modelling; 3) diagnostics, drugs, vaccines and vector control; 4) insecticide and drug resistance; 5) characterizing the reservoir and measuring transmission; and 6) health systems and policy research.

The collection follows from the first malERA initiative in 2011 that included a collection of nine articles published in PLOS Medicine with the aim to identify key knowledge gaps and define the strategies and tools that will result in malaria elimination and eradication.  As part of an effort to review progress and identify emerging challenges of the proposed research agenda, the malERA Refresh consultative process was undertaken in 2016, overseen by a leadership group composed of Regina Rabinovich (chair, ISGlobal Barcelona Institute for Global Health and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), Pedro Alonso (WHO Global Malaria Programme), Marcel Tanner (Swiss TPH), and Dyann Wirth (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health). Consultative panels for each of the six themes were led by a chair and 1 or 2 cochairs with input from 180 experts engaged in malaria eradication research.

Regina Rabinovich, of the Malaria Elimination Scientific Alliance (MESA) says: “The malERA papers provide a framework for focus for research funders whether government or private; for the World Health Organization, where recommendations on tools and strategies are made; and for each country, which has to make the specific decisions to shape its programs.” She continues: “The global malaria enterprise remains hugely challenging and transforming the mindset from implementation to problem solving is an essential task for both the next generation of scientists and program implementers.”

Feature image credit: Malaria glass artwork by Luke Jerram and graphic design by Rachel Papernick

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