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Malaria MISSION, prevent one child from dying every minute

Researchers from high school of Tropical Health at the University of Navarra and Clínica Universidad de Navarra use crowfunding to fight malaria

27/05/14 16:32 Miriam Salcedo

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that every year more than 200 million people fall ill with malaria (four times the population of Spain) and nearly 700,000 die from it (75% of the inhabitants of Barcelona). According to its 2013 World Malaria Report report , about half of the world's population is at risk of malaria. Although most cases are reported in sub-Saharan Africa, where a child dies from malaria every minute, WHO warns that it is also present in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Europe.

Putting an end to malaria is one of the priority objectives for the WHO, whose goal aims to reduce its mortality rate by 75% by 2015. Researchers from the high school of Tropical Health of the University of Navarra and the Clínica Universidad de Navarra with its project Malaria MISSION. This initiative is seeking 15,000 euros in funding through the Internet to develop a new weapon in the fight against the vector: a small silicone implant that kills the mosquitoes that bite its carrier.

So far, experts have developed a successful 2 mm diameter cylindrical prototype made of silicone, which is easily inserted under the skin of the arm. The implant contains ivermectin, a safe medicine widely used in the tropics to control various parasitic diseases, which is released over a long period of time in the wearer and causes mosquitoes to die when biting. The goal is to attack those that bite outside the home, since the most effective control measures used, mosquito nets and residual insecticides such as DDT, only kill those that bite indoors.

To fill in the pre-clinical phase and move a step closer to human application, they need to secure funding. "The crisis and cutbacks at research have further dried up the usual sources and large global funders usually choose to invest in large groups with a lot of experience. We are a small group , but with an innovative project that can help save lives," says Dr. Carlos Chaccour, coordinator of the study. 

Malaria MISSION went to network to raise funds through a crowfunding campaign on the Indiegogo platform on April 25. So far 30% of what is needed has been raised. Anyone can contribute on their website.