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TOWARDS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A FRAMEWORK IN MALARIA BETWEEN THE AMRN AND EVIMALAR

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Integrating malaria research globally

Malaria is a widespread mosquito-borne parasitic disease that kills millions of people. With no effective vaccination and increasing drug resistance, it is imperative to integrate international malaria research to find innovative solutions.

Health

The EU-funded project OZMALNET (Towards the establishment of a framework in malaria between the AMRN and EVIMALAR) has organised a network of excellence - the European Virtual Institute for Malaria Research (EVIMALAR). Concurrently, the Australian malaria research network (AMRN) provided funding for their researchers abroad through the OZEMALAR (Australia - Europe Malaria Research Cooperation) initiative. Together, EVIMALAR and AMRN facilitated malarial research cooperation by incorporating networking and staff exchange between Australian and European institutes. EVIMALAR created a legal link between the two regions to enable reciprocal funding and early stage researcher (ESR) exchange via OZMALNET and OZEMALAR. Several ESR exchanges between top Australian and European malarial research institutes were successfully completed. These ESRs performed cutting edge research and learned novel techniques that will also prove useful in future research endeavours. Exchange of malarial parasites and experimental results between Europe and Australia should facilitate better research integration and knowledge exchange. The malarial parasites in the form of merozoites enter the bloodstream from the human hosts' liver and invade red blood cells. An ESR from a European institute practised the novel merozoite purification method from an Australian laboratory. Imaging purified merozoites should help provide better insight into the pathogenesis of this disease. Besides this, other ESR exchanges have taken place and the researchers have learnt various biochemical techniques and methods including metabolomic analysis. Characterisation of important proteins such as PfGEXPs and coronin in the malarial parasite promise novel avenues for therapy and vaccine development. Project activities have strengthened research networks and ties between Australia and Europe. This should promote further research collaborations and enhance ESR careers, facilitating knowledge exchange and a more coordinated global research effort against the deadly parasite. Integrated research initiatives in particular could lead to the development of novel anti-malarial drugs and vaccines and other effective control measures.

Keywords

Malaria research, OZMALNET, EVIMALAR, OZEMALAR, ESR exchange, merozoite purification, vaccine

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