World Malaria Day: Raising awareness and celebrating progress

23 April 2020

This Saturday is World Malaria Day. Marked each year on 25 April, the day is observed to raise awareness of the global burden of malaria and to celebrate the progress that has been made to combat it. This year, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, we are reminded of the importance of maintaining global prevention and control programmes to fight deadly infectious diseases like malaria.

A preventable and treatable disease that puts half the world at risk, malaria remains one of the leading causes of child mortality in Africa. There is an urgent need for new anti-malarial drugs and as a collaborative drug discovery programme aimed at accelerating the process of finding new medicines, the European Lead Factory (ELF) takes a keen interest in malaria research.

To further drug development in this area, ELF has been partnering with the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) since 2018. MMV is the leading product development partnership in the field of anti-malarial drug research and development.

Emphasising the importance of eradicating the disease, James Duffy, Director of Drug Discovery at MMV said: “Malaria takes the life of a child every two minutes. It is our mission at MMV to discover and develop new and effective anti-malarial drugs to reduce the burden of this deadly disease.

“The European Lead Factory provides exciting opportunities for the advancement of anti-malarial drug discovery and we are proud to be one of the ELF partners. We’re looking forward to the screening results of the ELF compound library that will be carried out during the 5-year project.”

In the coming years, the ELF programme will perform over 50 new high throughput screens on drug targets and phenotypes to be proposed by the wider European drug discovery community. For NTDs and malaria, the ELF project is now actively recruiting new screening proposals. Favourable conditions have been defined for this area of research, allowing NTD and malaria programmes to be screened for free without any later stage milestone payments.

As the world contends with the spread of one infectious disease, let us not forget the need to maintain elimination efforts for other infectious diseases like malaria. Spread the word and help raise awareness to ensure that eradicating malaria remains a global priority.

If you would like to know more about the European Lead Factory screening opportunities, follow this link or send us an email at