Priority Medicines for Europe and the World 2013 Update. Background Paper 6 - Priority Diseases and Reasons for Inclusion. BP 6.10 - Malaria
(2013; 60 pages)


In 2004, a report Priority Medicines for Europe and the World was written by Warren Kaplan and Richard Laing and published by the World Health Organization (WHO). A chapter (6.10) and background paper on malaria were written by Lise Riopel for this 2004 publication. This background paper is an update of the 2004 paper published at

In 2010, malaria accounted for an estimated 660 000 deaths (between 610 000 and 971 000) and 219 million cases (between 154 million and 289 million) – down from an estimated 800 000 deaths and 230 million cases in the early 2000s. Overall, the malaria mortality rate has fallen by 26% since 2000. Almost 80% of cases and 90% of deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, and most of these deaths (86%) are in children under the age of five. The most vulnerable populations are children aged under five and pregnant women. The substantial reductions in the malaria burden were gained in countries where integrated control programmes were successful, but there are still many areas where the malaria burden is increasing. In Europe, while the number of imported malaria cases is decreasing, indigenous cases are still being reported in countries where malaria was officially eradicated long ago. In 2008, the Global Malaria Action Plan was launched by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM), addressing the control, elimination and future eradication of the disease.

The control strategy for malaria involves efforts to control the mosquito vector and provide preventive therapies and/or effective curative treatment. The success of vector control approaches in recent years is due to the global mass campaigns to distribute long-lasting insecticidal nets and carry out indoor residual household spraying.

Since 2004, there have been major improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of malaria.

The major challenge to malaria control is the growth of resistance to both insecticides and treatment.

By 1999, the pharmaceutical industry had largely disengaged from innovative drug R&D in tropical diseases due to the lack of market incentives. As a result, the malaria drugs pipeline was virtually empty. However, since the establishment of the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) in 1999, the situation has improved. Using the product development partnership (PDP) model to discover and develop new antimalarials, MMV has created the largest-ever portfolio of malaria drugs, including completely new classes of medicines. Vaccine research has also accelerated in recent decades, including a promising candidate in Phase III trials managed by a public-private partnership, the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. New active ingredients for insecticides and their new formulation have been developed by the Innovative Vector Control Consortium, and many companies have been involved in the R&D of new diagnostic tools. The European Commission has also been supporting R&D for basic science, antimalarials, vaccines, diagnostics, and vector control tools under the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes.

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