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World Malaria Day: Keeping malaria on the global agenda

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Tomorrow, 25 April, is World Malaria Day. As an organisation that has been working in the field of malaria research for more than a decade, Lygature joins the international call to action to promote World Malaria Day, helping to raise awareness of the global burden of malaria and celebrate the progress that has been made to combat it.

The Medicines for Malaria Venture - Product Development Partnership (MMV-PDP) Consortium is a key project under Lygature’s Global Health portfolio, aiming to develop novel antimalarial drug treatments. Running since 2016, MMV-PDP has brought together experts from the Netherlands and the rest of the world, including Africa, to find malaria medicines that target transmission and relapse – two areas of unmet medical need that are critical for the malaria eradication agenda.

As the project coordinator, Lygature has played a central role in connecting experts in the field of malaria research, parasitology and microbiology with medicinal chemistry, assay development and high-throughput screening specialists – helping to establish a robust malaria-focused research network of public and private partners.

A Dutch government-funded project, MMV-PDP is the first and only of its kind in the Netherlands. it aims to establish collaborative drug discovery platforms with innovative approaches to evaluating antimalarial efficacy of small molecules. So far, it has successfully produced the first ever Dutch antimalaria candidate drug. “If this initiative continues beyond 2020, I’m convinced that many more will follow,” said Dr Kristina Orrling, Lygature Global Health portfolio co-lead.

There is an urgent need for new antimalarial drugs and Lygature is proud to be involved in projects that are working to find novel approaches to fighting this deadly disease.

Another Lygature-coordinated project, the European Lead Factory (ELF), is working to accelerate the process of finding new medicines to combat malaria. In this effort, ELF has been partnering with MMV since 2018. The collaboration is providing exciting opportunities for the advancement of antimalarial drugs.

This year’s World Malaria Day is observed in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. While it may be hard to think of anything else, let us not forget the need to maintain elimination efforts for other infectious diseases like malaria, which kills more than 400,000 people a year – mostly young children. Spread the word and help raise awareness to ensure that eradicating malaria remains a global priority.

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