Director, Marketing & Communications
Keystone Symposia on Molecular & Cellular Biology
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Anna Rebecca Oje
MESA Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance
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Keystone Symposia and MESA Conclude Conference on The Science of Malaria Eradication in Merida, Mexico
SILVERTHORNE, CO February 14, 2014 Keystone Symposia, in collaboration with MESA (Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance), concluded its first conference in Mexico on The Science of Malaria Eradication at the Fiesta Americana Hotel in Merida, Yucatan on Friday, February 7. The four-day conference was part of the Keystone Symposia Global Health Series and was supported in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which funded travel awards for investigators from malaria-endemic countries as well as registration fees for investigators from Latin America.
By showcasing new evidence, recent data and emerging challenges, the meeting helped energize researchers in the field and catalyze new collaborations between investigators addressing different aspects of this urgent problem. It is three years since the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA) laid the foundation for revamped research and development for malaria eradication. The Keystone Symposia meeting highlighted the progress that has been made, key priorities going forward and the challenges that lie ahead. While malaria mortality has fallen by 45% since 2000, there were 627,000 deaths globally in 2012, and 97 countries still had ongoing malaria transmission in 2013 (World Malaria Report 2013).
The scientific organizers of the meeting, Drs. Pedro Alonso of the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain, Chetan Chitnis of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in India and Lee Hall of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the US National Institutes of Health, brought together experts from 37 countries in many aspects of malaria research. Speakers from academia, industry, government and nonprofit organizations such as the Carter Center, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Medicines for Malaria Venture, PATH and private research institutes discussed the range of initiatives that are now in development or being implemented, including R&D toward novel vaccine candidates that block parasite transmission, R&D toward new antimalarial drug targets, genetic engineering approaches for controlling parasite-infected mosquitoes, the latest health systems research, and surveillance approaches. Participants agreed that there is no single magic bullet for malaria eradication and a multi-faceted approach must be deployed.
Organizer Dr. Lee Hall said of the conference, This Keystone Symposium brought together scientists and stakeholders with interests and expertise ranging from basic and translational research to product development and public health program implementation. The presentations, discussions, and exchanges were insightful and provocative, engaging and productive. Participants gained a greater appreciation of the multidisciplinary approaches necessary to address the long-term goal of malaria eradication, and the importance of collaborative efforts to move forward."
About Keystone Symposia
Keystone Symposia is a nonprofit organization convening open scientific conferences that was founded as UCLA Symposia in 1972. It has been headquartered in Colorado, USA since 1990.
The organization held its first conferences in Latin America in 2013, in Ouro Preto, Brazil on innate immunity and infectious disease and in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on vaccination. It will convene 59 conferences in 2014, including the malaria confence and one on cell death signaling in Sao Paulo, Brazil in October 2014. More information on the malaria conference can be found at www.keystonesymposia.org/14F1 and on the organization and its meetings at www.keystonesymposia.org and www.keystonesymposia.org/meetings.
About MESA Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance
The Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance MESA was formed in 2012 to accelerate the science of malaria eradication for impact. Other disease eradication efforts have demonstrated the critical role of research and development. The Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA) laid the foundation for this R&D effort, which MESA builds upon.
MESAs research portfolio covers four continents and is pertinent to both P. vivax and P. falciparum malaria. New projects in operational research for interrupting transmission or preventing reintroduction will be funded in 2014.
The Steering Committee is chaired by Pedro Alonso, and the Strategic Advisory Council is chaired by David Brandling-Bennett. The Secretariat is hosted at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). MESA is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Visit www.mesamalaria.org and www.malariaworld.org/blogs/mesa-alliance for more details.