The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund), a public-private partnership that seeks to nurture Japan’s R&D, has invested in a malaria vaccine and rapid field test.
Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people every year. Although the burden has decreased in recent years, the ever-evolving malaria parasite has proven to be resilient, constantly shifting to develop resistance to the world’s most effective drugs and insecticides.
Alarmed by the threat of drug resistance, the malaria research community is pushing for transmission-blocking vaccines to be ready for deployment by 2030.
In that bid, the GHIT will be investing over US $1,380,000 in a pair of innovative malaria eradication tools: a vaccine that could block transmission of two species of the deadly disease, and a rapid field test that can reveal a malaria infection in minutes.
The vaccine consiste in a mosquito-based transmission-blocking. When mosquitoes bite vaccinated humans, the blood they extract would contain antibodies generated by the vaccine that would interfere with the parasite’s passage from human to mosquito, effectively breaking the cycle of transmission.
TB eradication investments
The GHIT Fund also revealed that it’s investing in the development of a new diagnostic test for tuberculosis—which has now overtaken HIV as the leading cause of death from infectious disease—and contribute to funding to develop treatments for two neglected tropical diseases that affect billions. These are leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease transmitted by sand flies that can cause disfiguring skin ulcers or even fatal organ failure; and soil-transmitted helminthiasis infections, which are caused by parasitic worms and routinely lead to physical and cognitive impairments in children.
Source: Asian Scientist