Press release

UK steps up investments in global fight to end malaria

New support announced for the development of antimalarial drugs that can combat resistant strains of the disease.

The UK is investing in the development of new drugs to protect the world’s poorest from malaria and help bring an end to the disease, the International Development Secretary Priti Patel announced today (13 December).

Priti Patel speaking about malaria
Priti Patel speaks at the launch of the World Malaria Report 2016. Picture: Zute Lightfoot/Malaria No More UK

Speaking to health professionals, industry experts, NGOs and parliamentarians at the launch of the World Malaria Report 2016, Priti Patel set out how the UK will continue to take a leading role in the global fight against malaria.

Ms Patel announced new support from the Department for International Development (DFID) for advancing antimalarial drugs that can combat resistant strains of the disease, including for the treatment of malaria during pregnancy, as well as new insecticides to strengthen the life-saving protection that bednets and house-sprays can bring.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

Britain is at the forefront of the global fight against malaria – helping achieve extraordinary progress with death rates in the world’s poorest countries dropping by nearly two-thirds since 2000.

But we cannot be complacent, which is why the UK is investing in new anti-malarial drugs to beat resistant strains of the disease.

In our increasingly interconnected world it is in the UK’s interests to take on global health threats and push others to step up so we can end malaria for good.

The new DFID investments to help tackle this global health threat include:

  • up to £50million in the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), to support critical work developing and delivering new antimalarial drugs. The MMV has assembled the largest pipeline of potential antimalarial drugs in history.

  • up to £25million for the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) to develop new insecticides. Long-lasting insecticide treated nets and indoor spraying of homes have had a major impact in the fight against malaria, but their increasing use has now resulted in insecticide resistance throughout Africa. With UK support, the IVCC are on track to deliver new active ingredients to the market by 2022.

The World Malaria Report showed that malaria parasites which are resistant to the main drug combinations for treating malaria are now spreading across South East Asia and beyond.

Ms Patel warned that the international community cannot afford to be complacent, and called on others to keep up the momentum, address the urgent need more for more investment in malaria control and support the development of new drugs, diagnostics and insecticides to help tackle the disease.

This comes on top of the UK’s leading work in the fight against malaria:

  • Since 2011, DFID has distributed 49.7 million long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets - saving up to 808,000 lives.

  • In September, the International Development Secretary Priti Patel announced the UK pledge of £1.1 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria over the next 3 years. This will fund a further 40 million bed nets to tackle malaria.

  • UK funded research that supported the development of child-friendly malaria drugs has now been used for 300 million treatments in malaria-endemic countries.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) World Malaria Report 2016 shows that there has been continuing progress in the battle against malaria. Deaths have declined by 60% between 2000 and 2015 - averting more than 6 million malaria related deaths.

The report also shows that last year there were an estimated 212 million cases of malaria worldwide and an estimated 429,000 deaths. The biggest victims were the most vulnerable: the poorest, pregnant women, and children under 5. Malaria is claiming the life of a child every 2 minutes.

Notes

  • The investments are allocations from the UK’s £357 million investment with the Ross Fund, which aims to develop medicines, tests and insecticides to limit the threat of diseases.

  • The launch of the World Malaria Report 2016 took place at the London at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (13 December 2016).

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