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The application of evolutionary medicine principles for sustainable malaria control: A scoping study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mark Booth



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2016 The Author(s). Background: Current interventions against malaria have significantly reduced the number of people infected and the number of deaths. Concerns about emerging resistance of both mosquitoes and parasites to intervention have been raised, and questions remain about how best to generate wider knowledge of the underlying evolutionary processes. The pedagogical and research principles of evolutionary medicine may provide an answer to this problem. Methods: Eight programme managers and five academic researchers were interviewed by telephone or videoconference to elicit their first-hand views and experiences of malaria control given that evolution is a constant threat to sustainable control. Interviewees were asked about their views on the relationship between practit groups and academics and for their thoughts on whether or not evolutionary medicine may provide a solution to reported tensions. Results: There was broad agreement that evolution of both parasites and vectors presents an obstacle to sustainable control. It was also widely agreed that through more efficient monitoring, evolution could be widely monitored. Interviewees also expressed the view that even well planned interventions may fail if the evolutionary biology of the disease is not considered, potentially making current tools redundant. Conclusions: This scoping study suggests that it is important to make research, including evolutionary principles, available and easily applicable for programme managers and key decision-makers, including donors and politicians. The main conclusion is that sharing knowledge through the educational and research processes embedded within evolutionary medicine has potential to relieve tensions and facilitate sustainable control of malaria and other parasitic infections.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ocampo D, Booth M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Malaria Journal

Year: 2016

Volume: 15

Online publication date: 22/07/2016

Acceptance date: 18/07/2016

Date deposited: 30/08/2017

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2875

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd


DOI: 10.1186/s12936-016-1446-8

PubMed id: 27449143


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