On Wednesday, June 3, NAM president Victor J Dzau spoke at the Online Launch Ceremony to establish the European Union’s Malaria Fund, a public-private partnership between the European Union, international organizations, corporations, and organized civic society. The fund will support the translation and development of promising projects related to malaria. It is a financing initiative that derisks research and development efforts to develop new and improved vaccines and related platforms. The NAM will be serving as an external adviser to the initiative, and will be collaborating with the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering.
According to the controlmalaria.eu website, “The EU Malaria Fund aims to
- Support the control, and potentially eradication, of malaria;
- Provide venture loans at preferential terms to incorporated, scientifically promising projects not yet pursued by the pharmaceutical industry, thus helping to extend the deal-flow in the domain of tropical diseases;
- Fund platform projects allowing for secondary exploitations of their anti-malaria assets, for example into COVID-19;
- Work with a thoroughly considered portfolio of pre-selected companies, thus ensuring its ability to fund Malaria R&D right away;
- Serve as a “case-in-point” for the set up of similar funding instruments to address other pressing medical needs with underlying market failures comparable to those in malaria.”
“This EU Malaria Fund is important for several reasons. At a time of the COVID-19 pandemic, where there is so much attention paid to acute infectious disease crises, we must not forget the suffering from ongoing health threats such as Malaria, HIV/AIDS, TB, and other chronic diseases,” said Dzau. “To tackle these conditions, there is a need for effective vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics. At present, there is no effective, widely used vaccine for malaria.”
The work of the Malaria Fund will also have immense opportunities for secondary disease targets and novel or adaptable vaccine production platforms—that are necessary for malaria and other parasitical diseases.