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October 24, 2007

Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute Releases Special Report

“Breaking the Cycle” chronicles five years of scientific discovery conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute (JHMRI). Founded at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2001, JHMRI is a state-of-the-art malaria research facility with 19 full-time faculty dedicated to the search for medical and scientific breakthroughs in malaria prevention and treatment by advancing basic science along every stage of the malaria parasite lifecycle.

The 24-page report was released today in New York during the half-day symposium “Progress Against Malaria: Developments on the Horizon,” held at the New York Academy of Sciences.

“Malaria is a global crisis afflicting half a billion people worldwide. Over 1 million die from the disease each year, many of whom are children,” said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “The discoveries, insights and achievements made by the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute signal great hope in the fight against malaria.”

Report Highlights:

Vaccinating a Village: Nirbhay Kumar is working on a potential transmission-blocking vaccine that interferes with the malaria parasite’s sexual development. Stopping the parasite at this critical stage would prevent mosquitoes from transmitting the parasite from one person to another.

Winged Misery: Malaria’s Essential Vector: Recent breakthroughs by Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena and others may one day make mosquitoes resistant to the malaria parasite and the transmission of malaria to humans. Research includes studies of genetically modified mosquitoes and the mosquito’s immune system.

When is a Fever Caused by Malaria?: David Sullivan has developed a urine test that can quickly and simply distinguish between a fever and potentially life-threatening malaria, saving precious time and medications.

Rx for Malaria: Gary Posner and Theresa Shapiro have developed a new and improved version of the long-used malaria drug, artemisinin that can cure malaria in mice in a single-dose.

Macha: A Living Laboratory in Zambia: Performing malaria research in an endemic area like Macha, Zambia, allows researchers to study new medications, develop new prevention strategies and collaborate with a community in need of better solutions.

Hunting Mosquitoes from 126 Miles Up: Gregory Glass is analyzing topographic imagery taken from orbit to identify the mosquito’s hiding places during the dry season. In the future, scientists hope they can accurately forecast where the risk of malaria will be greatest from season to season.

“I am pleased to report that our broad-based, basic science approach to malaria is already having real impacts,” said Diane Griffin, MD, PhD founding director of JHMRI and the Alfred and Jill Sommer Professor and Chair of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. “From a powerful, new artemisinin-derivative treatment, to a promising, easy-to-use diagnostic test, to advances in a transmission-blocking vaccine and the development of transgenic mosquitoes, JHMRI is capitalizing on its early investments in people and technological resources. Life-saving discoveries have been made and will continue to be made.”

Download “Breaking the Cycle”

Public Affairs media contact for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or