The global theme for World Malaria Day, ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’, emphasizes everyone’s power and responsibility to ensure no one dies from a mosquito bite. The theme is inspired by the pan-African movement of the same name. High-burden countries in Africa account for approximately 70% of the global malaria burden.

Target Malaria is present in four African countries and we would like to celebrate the incredible work done by each team in their fight against malaria.

Learn more about Target Malaria’s countries:

Every April 7, we celebrate World Health Day, which marks the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). This date has been used to raise awareness of serious health issues worldwide, leading to numerous successful health campaigns throughout the last decades. In 2020, the WHO chose to remind us about the importance of nurses and midwives to keep the world safe and healthy. Also celebrated this week, the World Health Worker Week follows a similar path, recognising the heroic efforts of frontline health professionals.

(more…)

COVID-19: We are here for you

The COVID-19 pandemic has now reached almost every corner of the world, and that includes the Target Malaria network of partners, or family as I prefer to think of them. All of our partner sites are affected, and we – as a project – are feeling the impact of the disease in one form or another. The situation is changing on a daily basis, and as a project we need to be ready to adapt and work to ensure the safety of our team members, partners, and other stakeholders involved in project activities. Target Malaria is defined by its people, and our first and foremost concern is their health and safety, we are here to support in any way we can.

(more…)

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Luca Pellegrino, a young journalist from Scientificast, an Italian scientific network that has the mission to divulgate science in a way that is accessible to everyone, especially a non-technical audience.

(more…)

It is nearly five o’clock in the evening when the bright lights in the ceiling are dimming, while an orangish light is appearing from the back end of the room, mimicking the sunset, creating a clear contrast with a dark panel on the floor to simulate the horizon. This is the signal that hundreds of male mosquitoes were waiting for their most important daily activity: they start to fly in a circle mid-air like a dance over a black square marker on the floor, looking for females to mate with. Anopheles mosquitoes, the vector of human malaria, usually mate in swarms at dusk, and soon after, mated females begin their search of a prey (usually large mammals) to suck up the blood they need to produce eggs. Here, at the Genetics and Ecology Research Centre of Polo of Genomics, Genetics and Biology (Polo GGB) in Terni (an hour drive north of Rome, Italy) we feed our mosquitoes with a synthetic membrane loaded off cow blood.

(more…)

CRISPRcon 2019

On the 20thand 21stof June 2019, CRISPRcon organised a conference on conversations on science, society and the future of gene editing at Wageningen University in The Netherlands. This event was a great platform to network, share and learn experiences on how gene editing and other technologies can solve major agricultural and health problems.

(more…)

It is this time of year again, when on the 25thof April researchers, NGOs, civil society groups, corporate sector, governments reinstate their will and efforts to contribute to malaria eradication on the occasion of World Malaria Day.

For some this day might seem redundant. However, it has never been as important for people working towards malaria eradication and people affected by this deadly disease to join their voices and reaffirm the need to continue our efforts. Since 2016 the World Malaria Report has showed that progress against malaria has plateaued and that in some countries and regions malaria cases are increasing.

This plateau is a clear call for the development of new innovations and continuous efforts and investments in Research and Development if we are to find and curve new solutions to save millions of people’s lives from malaria worldwide.

(more…)

If you think about the kind of science needed to develop a genetic technology to control malaria mosquitoes, I wonder if modelling springs to your mind? If not, you may well wonder – what is it, and why do we do it?

A good definition for ‘model’ is a simplified representation or description of a complex entity. This applies to human models (they are supposed to be ‘idealised humans’, at least in appearance!), to wooden models of mosquitoes, and to mathematical models of mosquito populations.

(more…)