Minister Lenihan announces support for search for new malaria drugs
Conor Lenihan T.D., Minister of State responsible for Irish Aid, today announced a grant of
€9 million over three years to the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV).
This funding will be used for the development of new and better drugs to treat malaria, one of the deadliest diseases for humanity.
Minster Lenihan made the announcement ahead of a meeting of the Medicines for Malaria Venture, which will be held in Zambia on 7th May. Former President Mary Robinson will be the keynote speaker at this meeting in her capacity as head of the Ethical Globalization Initiative.
Making the announcement, Minister Lenihan said
“Our support for the global search for new malaria drugs is a real contribution to poverty reduction and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The global effort to control malaria and blunt its staggering effects on human development and world poverty requires new medicines that are effective and made available to poor people in developing countries.
The work of the Medicines for Malaria Venture is impressive and we expect a new drug to be available as soon as 2008.
Malaria is one of the major global diseases that we are supporting under the initiative to tackle HIV/AIDS and other global communicable diseases announced by the Taoiseach last September. Funding to tackle these diseases is being doubled to €100 million a year.”
The grant was welcomed by MMV and will make Ireland their second largest bilateral donor. "With this important and much appreciated decision to support MMV, Irish Aid clearly recognises the urgent need for effective new drugs and ensuring that these drugs reach those in need," said Dr. Christopher Hentschel, President and CEO of MMV. "We fully realise that we must deliver not only drug innovation but ultimately a health impact that supports the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals."
Malaria remains one of the deadliest global diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that 300 to 500 million cases of malaria occur globally with more than one million deaths. Children and pregnant women are most severely affected and more than 90% of malaria deaths occur in African countries. In these countries malaria has serious effects on human development and economic growth.
Medicines are presently the major means of cure and prevention of malaria but existing cheap drugs such as chloroquine have become ineffective due to growing resistance. MMV is the leading global enterprise working to accelerate the discovery of more effective medicines for malaria and ensure that these medicines are delivered at an affordable cost to poor people.
5 May 2006