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     established by Professor Birkholtz in 2013, is unique in Africa. The Consortium includes scientists from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR, Dr D Mancama), and from the University of the Witwatersrand Research Institute for Malaria (WITS, Professors T Coetzer and L Koekemoer). Collectively, the work undertaken by the Consortium is examining whether new antimalarial candidates that may cure an infection could also be used to block transmission of the malaria parasite from humans to mosquitoes. Malaria elimination becomes a reality only once this transmission cycle is broken.
The Consortium works closely with other experts in antimalarial drug discovery in the country, including Professor Kelly Chibale, DST-NRF SARChI Chair in Drug Discovery at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Potential drug candidates from UCT are evaluated by UP and their partners for the ability to kill the transmissible forms of the malaria parasites in humans. As a result of this work, for the first time we are able to talk about targeting the parasite in malaria elimination, which will have far-reaching consequences in the fight against the disease.
Tiaan de Jager is Director of UP ISMC, and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences.
The World Health Organisation (WHO, 2016) regards malaria as ‘a massive unfinished agenda’. Despite recent progress, malaria continues to have a devastating impact, particularly on the African continent that accounts for an estimated 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths.
The University of Pretoria Institute for Sustainable Malaria Control (UP ISMC) was established to promote collaborative research
on safer and sustainable malaria control and management. It is a multi- and trans-disciplinary, interdepartmental and interfaculty platform that links and consolidates existing research expertise on malaria control within the University, and sustains strong links with national, regional and international partners.
Professor Tiaan de Jager, Director of the UP ISMC, notes that there is an urgent need
for research and surveillance, including safer alternatives to insecticides, especially those to which the development of resistance is known. Support is needed for the continued development of new technologies and strategies as methods of sustainable alternative malaria control. At
the same time, novel ways to ensure community disease awareness and support for public health campaigns are necessary to enable communities to contribute to an integrated management approach to eliminating the disease.
The different research clusters of the UP ISMC focus on human health, parasite and vector control, with research varying from molecular approaches to transmission blocking and drug testing, to innovative, novel approaches to vector control, mathematical modelling, remote sensing, health promotion, and malaria education.
The Institute hosts the DST-NRF SARChI Chair on Sustainable Malaria Control, and is a South African Medical Research Council Collaborating Centre for Malaria Research. Recently, the Institute also partnered with Goodbye Malaria to establish a Malaria Research Centre of Excellence at Namaacha in southern Mozambique, near the border between South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique.
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