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Chapter 1

Malaria: New Medicines for its Control and Eradication

Malaria is one of the most widespread infectious diseases of our time. About 40% of the world's population live in countries where the disease is endemic and around 243 million people suffer from the disease every year. The vast majority of the cases are in children under five, and often amongst the poorest populations. New generations of medicines will always be needed, since there is always the threat of resistance emerging. Recent years have seen a renaissance in the search for new antimalarials. Advances in genome-based target identification, and also in whole parasite screening technologies means that more tools are now available for drug discovery. Increased understanding of the importance of emerging markets and of corporate social responsibility means that the pharmaceutical industry is now heavily supporting malaria drug discovery projects. Financial support from governments and from private foundations is a key element here though: malaria drug discovery will never be self-sustaining. Recent years have seen a call for a new strategy to help drive the eradication of malaria. This will need new types of medicines, moving beyond simple control of the disease, to prevention of transmission and elimination of host reservoirs. Since these medicines will take over a decade to discover and develop, it is important to have a clear view on the ultimate target product profiles that we are searching to address. Success could see the relegation of malaria to text books of tropical medicine and parasitology.

Print publication date: 04 Nov 2011
Copyright year: 2012
Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-192-8
PDF eISBN: 978-1-84973-349-6
From the book series:
Drug Discovery