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Opening up Malaria Research

An approach known as "open innovation" promises to revolutionize the fight against deadly diseases, like malaria, that afflict the developing world. By sharing data, discoveries, and resources, scientists are achieving breakthroughs in such diseases' prevention and treatment.

LONDON – In recent years, tremendous progress has been made in the battle against malaria. According to the World Health Organization, the number of deaths from the disease has fallen by a staggering 60% since 2000 – the result of improved access to diagnostic testing and treatment.

To be sure, there is still considerable work to be done, but the downward trend in new infections and deaths underscores the power of collaboration among governments (in malaria endemic and non-endemic countries alike), between commercial and non-profit organizations, and between academic science and medicine. Without such partnerships, advances in fighting this deadly disease would not have been possible. Alongside coordinated action on the ground, increasing openness and collaboration among scientists researching and developing a new generation of medicines and vaccines is paving the way for further progress.

There is a growing recognition within the scientific community that no single organization or group has the know-how or resources to tackle malaria alone. As with many other diseases afflicting the developing world, the science is hugely complex, and the commercial opportunity is limited. Reversing the tide on malaria requires us to pool resources and combine the diverse experience and expertise of scientists from different backgrounds and specialties.

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