The study warns that R&D investments are critical, given the emergence of drug resistance in the malaria parasite and insecticide resistance in the mosquito. (Agencies)
The report "From Pipeline to Product: Malaria R&D Funding Needs Into the Next Decade," projects that malaria R&D will require up to USD 8.3 billion over the next decade (2013-2022) to develop new tools to sustain efforts to combat the disease; the midrange projection calls for investment of about USD 700 million annually.
While currently in retreat, malaria still kills about 660,000 people, mostly young children in Africa, each year.
The report focuses on the P vivax type of malaria, which causes much of the malaria in India and is becoming increasingly resistant to malaria drugs.
While less life-threatening than the P falciparum parasite, P vivax causes severe and relapsing malaria, but the report finds that there is little investment in R&D exclusively to tackle this malaria species.
The report, authored by 'Policy Cures', an independent nonprofit research group, warns of the challenge posed by the Plasmodium vivax species of malaria parasite.
"For both P vivax and P falciparum malaria, we need new, effective, and affordable tools, including drugs, to ensure that we not only clear parasites from the body but also protect against immediate re-infection and ideally help limit transmission," said David Reddy, PhD, CEO of Medicines for Malaria Venture.
"Rapid diagnostics for malaria are also urgently needed to ensure people are receiving the right treatment for their disease," he said.
It accounts for half of malaria cases in South and Southeast Asia and up to 81 percent of the malaria in Latin America, and its relative prevalence may be increasing in some regions.
The report found difficulties in documenting the flow of resources into R&D for P vivax malaria: only five per cent of investments could be identified as exclusively for vivax R&D.
The report notes funding for malaria R&D has grown dramatically in the last two decade, even through the global recession, so the biggest need over the next decade is for sustained momentum with (relatively) modest annual increases.
The study warns that R&D investments are critical, given the emergence of drug resistance in the malaria parasite and insecticide resistance in the mosquito.