Malaria has been with us for a long time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, malaria or a disease resembling malaria has been noted for more than 4,000 years.
In recent years, increased funding from the likes of the Gates Foundation, the World Bank, the Global Fund, the U.S. government, and others has instigated an all-out war on malaria. The World Health Organization’s 2010 Malaria Report suggests that we are winning that war. But more needs to be done.
Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is no stranger to the malaria battlefront. Indeed, with our unique focus (at least in the U.S.) on tropical medicine, we have been a leading participant in this crusade for about as long as we have been in existence. And those efforts are expanding.
In this issue, you will read about Nirbhay Kumar, a world-renowned parasitologist and immunologist, who helms the Department of Tropical Medicine. Kumar is building a comprehensive malaria prevention team focused on eliminating this global disease. In his own research, Kumar is developing a promising transmission-blocking vaccine that would effectively stop the malaria transmission process in its tracks.
You will also see how Donald Krogstad, a long-time faculty member whose research has been addressing malaria for decades, is establishing an International Center of Excellence in Malaria Research in West and Central Africa. There, he and his team, including assistant professor Joe Keating and assistant professor Thom Eisele, will develop a multidisciplinary strategy designed to eliminate malaria in the region.
Our efforts are widespread and take many forms. The research is encouraging, and the potential to directly impact global health is huge.
Pierre Buekens, MD, PhD