New York, June 19, 2019 - Malaria No More will celebrate the innovative legacy and leadership of the U.S. government and “10 to END” innovators: ten people and ideas that are contributing to ending one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases at its 13th Annual International Honors Gala tonight. U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Dr. Ken Staley of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative – the U.S. government’s leading bilateral malaria program – will give the keynote address.
"The U.S. government and these innovators are spurring scientific, medical and technological breakthroughs that amount to a new model for disease eradication, one that relies on bold and sometimes counter-intuitive approaches," said Martin Edlund, CEO, Malaria No More. "No one innovation is going to end this disease, but a combination of these tools and approaches will save millions more lives and unlock immeasurable human and economic potential."
Building on its decades-long commitment to protect U.S. military service members, the U.S. government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the research of leading-edge therapeutics, diagnostics and surveillance tools to combat malaria and scale-up delivery of proven interventions. Over the years, these investments have led to the development of new insecticide tools, anti-malarial drugs, and rapid diagnostic tests for malaria. These investments resulted in one of the most historic global health successes of all time – cutting deaths from malaria by 60% globally, saving more than 7 million lives, and preventing more than one billion cases of malaria since 2000. Most recently, thanks to research originating in U.S. government laboratories, private-public partnerships launched a single-dose “radical cure” for P. vivax – the second deadliest malaria parasite – and are piloting a first-ever malaria vaccine.
“The U.S. government is committed to investing in new tools and approaches that will continue paving the way toward a malaria-free world,” said U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Dr. Ken Staley. “To end malaria, we’ll need to harness the power of data and new technologies to better prevent, diagnose, and treat malaria; stay ahead of parasites and mosquitoes, and continue to deliver an effective package of interventions to communities.”
"10 to END"
Ending malaria worldwide is now more possible than ever. Fueling this opportunity are innovative strategies and partnerships and ground-breaking research and development of cutting-edge tools. The “10 to END” honorees will be recognized for their enduring commitment and advancements in the malaria fight across four categories that span diverse areas of big data, mapping, pharma, diagnostics, genetic engineering, and medical technology.
“Malaria No More is committed to ensuring that innovative efforts around the world can deliver on the promises they offer now and, in the future, to end this preventable disease,” said Lowrey Redmond, Chief Growth Officer, Malaria No More. “We are grateful for our many partners and donors supporting our mission to increase the investments and political will needed to consistently bring new anti-malaria tools and approaches to the world’s most vulnerable – disproportionately young children and pregnant women – who need them most. We won’t stop until we end malaria for good.”
Emceeing the Gala event is filmmaker, comedian and actress Kiran Deol, who has survived a bout with malaria. Blinky Bill, a Kenyan musician, producer and DJ will perform. CNN news anchor and journalist Wolf Blitzer will present the awards to innovative companies and scientists in the following categories:
Building a Better Bed Net
Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLIN) are credited with being the most impactful intervention in reducing malaria in the last two decades, and before the end of this year more than 2 billion LLINs will be distributed globally since 2000. As resistance to insecticides grows, partners are reinventing this iconic life-saving tool to outpace resistance and ensure bed nets continue to be effective frontline tools, especially in Africa.
• Sumitomo Chemical: Ray Nishimoto, New chemistry to outpace insecticide resistance
• Vestergaard Frandsen: Mikkel Vestergaard, Raising the alarm on insecticide resistance and creating the tools to defeat it
The Data Revolution - From Diagnostics to Genomics
For years, in the absence of practical diagnostics, doctors had little choice but to treat every fever as if it were malaria and hope for the best. This all changed when in 2010, a simple-to-use Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) was invented and delivery of the tool was scaled up across villages worldwide. Today, more than 250 million RDTs are in use every year sparking innovations – high-resolution maps, parasite mobility tracking and genetic epidemiology, that can stop the parasite in its tracks.
• Dr. Jennifer Gardy: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bringing the tools of public health genomics to malaria
• Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: Professor Simon I Hay, Putting "big data" and geospatial science to work ending disease
• Mammoth Biosciences: Dr. Trevor Martin, Applying CRISPR gene editing to diagnostics
• Dr. Caroline Buckee: Harvard University, Showing us that mobile phones are a public health tool
• Abbott: Chris Scoggins, Putting cutting-edge diagnostic capabilities in the hands of frontline health workers
The Quest for a Radical Cure
Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first radical cure for P. vivax, the 2nd-most deadly malaria parasite. Today, scientists and pharma leaders are racing to invent a new generation of “wonder drugs” for P. falciparum malaria before we lose current drugs to expanding drug resistance.
• Novartis: Dr. Julia Zack, Pioneering artemisinin treatments and what comes next
Cracking the Mosquito Code
Today, scientists from California to Bangalore are splicing the DNA of mosquitoes to demonstrate that the mosquito could in fact be our greatest weapon in defeating malaria. Geneticists are using the breakthrough CRISPR gene-editing technology to turn mosquitoes into allies in the fight against malaria and other mosquito-borne disease.
• Oxitec: Grey Frandsen, Developing the "friendly mosquito" and putting it in the field
• UC System/Tata Institute for Genetics and Society: Dr. Suresh Subramani, Applying CRISPR-driven "active genetics" to tackling all forms of mosquito-borne disease
The annual International Honors event brings together global leaders, media, and many public and private sector partners generating crucial support for the mission. Past honorees include President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, Secretary Hillary Clinton, former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, businessman and philanthropist Aliko Dangote and senior executives from partners including Abbott, ExxonMobil, Kimberly-Clark and Sumitomo Chemical.
For more information or interview requests, contact Robin Breen at +1 858-926-9669 or Robin.Breen@MalariaNoMore.org
About Malaria No More
Malaria No More envisions a world where no one dies from a mosquito bite. More than a decade into our mission, our work has contributed to historic progress toward this goal. Now, we’re mobilizing the political commitment, funding, and innovation required to achieve what would be one of the greatest humanitarian accomplishments – ending malaria within our generation. For more information, visit www.malarianomore.org