Malaria research and development will be boosted by a new £1billion fund, the Ross Fund, backed by Britain’s aid budget and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) that was announced yesterday (November 22, 2015).
Announcing the fund Chancellor George Osborne said he had been committed to the fight against malaria since 1997. ‘A staggering one billion people are infected with malaria and 500,000 children die from the parasite each year,’ he said. ‘Our commitment means Britain can continue to play its part in the fight against malaria and working with the BMGF will help us in our joint ambition to see an end to this global disease in our lifetimes.’
The UK Department for International Development (DfID) has a long track record of effective overseas aid and has a particular reason to be proud through its support for the development of new anti-malarial insecticides. These are an essential element of the bednets and indoor residual spraying which, according to a recent report from Oxford University, has been responsibly for vector control was responsible for about 80% of the overall decline in infection prevalence across the continent since 2000 (read the full report) and (a summary of the report).
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said there was reason to be proud of Britain’s contribution to the fight against deadly diseases across the world, and especially malaria, which costs African economies about £8billion every year. ‘A healthy prosperous world is in Britain’s interest and the prevention of deadly diseases is a smart investment,’ she said. ‘That is why working with the BMGF through the Ross Fund, the UK will tackle resistance and develop drugs or insecticides to bring an end to this terrible disease.’
No new public health insecticide has been developed in over 30 years, and with all the current insecticides now compromised by insecticide resistance, the work IVCC is doing with the support of BMGF and DfID is essential to the malaria battle. Since IVCC began in 2000 we have made considerable progress, and expect to have several new anti-malarial insecticides in the field by 2020 for use in bednets and indoor residual spraying. Their use will make insecticide resistance much more difficult to develop in the future. It is a very tangible return on investment by both UK international aid and the BMGF that is already producing practical results that will change the world for the better.
IVCC, a UK based charity, is the only organisation in the world developing new public health insecticides. Our public-private partnership has worked well over the past 10 years, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK, US, and Swiss governments, and from our industry partners.