Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute's 2021 World Malaria Day Symposium Draws More Than 800 Virtual Attendees
The Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute hosted its annual World Malaria Day Symposium on Friday, April 23. The all-day event took place virtually via Zoom and featured over a dozen panelists from around the world who discussed the latest in malaria vector biology, including topics such as mosquito nocturnal behavior, mosquito immune memory, and mosquitoes’ sense of human scent.
Among the largest World Malaria Day events in North America, this year’s symposium drew more than 800 attendees from 58 countries. The Malaria Research Institute has hosted the symposium in recognition of World Malaria Day on April 25 every year since 2009.
Malaria is one of the deadliest diseases in the world, killing more than 400,000 people each year, mostly children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa. Many who survive suffer life-changing consequences, including blindness. After nearly two decades of progress, malaria cases and deaths have stalled in recent years. Scientists are concerned that climate change could lead to greater malaria transmission, as increases in temperatures, rainfall and humidity may cause a proliferation of the malaria-carrying mosquitoes at higher altitudes. This could eventually result in increased malaria transmission in coming years.
While preventive measures such as mosquito nets can help curb transmission, researchers continue to seek ways to prevent malaria’s spread from mosquito to humans. A vaccine is being piloted in three countries by the World Health Organization. A second promising vaccine is expanding clinical trials in Burkina Faso.
Presenters at this year’s World Malaria Day Symposium included 13 leading scientists, researchers, and policymakers from around the world, representing the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, the National Institutes of Health, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of California system, among others. Bloomberg School Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, ScM, made introductory remarks.
Among the speakers was Abdoulaye Diabate, PhD, Head of Medical Entomology and Parasitology at the Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé/Centre Muraz in the Burkina Faso. He addressed mosquito swarming biology as well as a promising new spraying technique that targets swarms and reduces mosquito biting by close to 90 percent. The new technique could be an effective method to reduce mosquito populations.
The event was organized by George Dimopoulos, PhD, MBA, Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Douglas Norris, PhD, Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The Malaria Research Institute is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.