NIH gives grant for malaria research center

The National Institutes of Health have given the University of California San Diego a seven-year, $9.2 million grant to develop a joint Peruvian/Brazilian malaria research center.

According to UCSD, Joseph Vinetz, a tropical disease specialist and professor at the San Diego School of Medicine, has been awarded the grant, which, through a multi-national effort, will establish the International Center of Excellence in Malaria Research. Vinetz has spent much of the last 20 years studying and fighting the disease, with much of that time spent in South America.

Vinetz will be the principle investigator at the Peru/Brazil ICEMR, attempting to map the entire disease cycle in the region.

"At a time when eradication is the ultimate goal of malaria control strategies, it remains unclear why malaria has proven so difficult to control in the Amazon Basin," Vinetz said. "We have assembled an impressive team of specialists who are prepared to look at all aspects of malaria transmission in this region, to improve the diagnosis, the treatment and the prevention of infection. Over the long term, we share the NIH's goal of generating research findings that can be translated into effective public health interventions and that lead to the audacious goal of global malaria eradication."

According to the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, which made the original announcement, the grant money will fund ICEMR projects in the seven major geographic regions throughout the world where malaria is endemic and a major public health concern. Their stated goal is the eradication of malaria.

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