I would like to know what key scientists are involved with the cure of Malaria.
There are literally hundreds of scientists around the world who are all working on different aspects of curing malaria. The complexity of the life cycle of the parasite means that there are lots of different areas of potential research, and some scientists specialise very precisely on one tiny aspect of the life cycle, hoping to find a way in which it can be exploited as a vulnerability, and used to develop new medications. I will resist naming any particular names, as that would be unfair to all the other scientists, whose work is equally important, that I don’t have space to list!
For example, some scientists devote their attention to the reproduction of the parasite inside human red blood cells or the process of infection; a paper came out very recently which looked at ways in which the malaria parasite uses host proteins to fulfill its own reproductive processes, and how that cycle can be disrupted as a way of treating malaria. A review of that paper will be appearing on this website in the very near future. Other scientists focus on the life cycle of the parasite inside the mosquito, or indeed even just the mosquito itself; some very cool research came out last year, for example, by scientists at Cornell University on how manipulating proteins in the mosquitoes’ kidneys can prevent them from successfully flying off after drinking human blood, thus killing them. Other scientists focus on treatment; for example, the quest for a vaccine against malaria has been a lifelong devotion for many teams of scientists around the world. Other cutting edge research involves looking at whether existing drugs can be used to tackle malaria; recently, it was discovered that a common drug used for treating cancer also has anti-malarial effects.
Finally, there are a whole army of scientists who work away from the lab at ways of curing malaria; this includes, for example, epidemiologists who look at disease distribution and burden at different scales, and geospatial statisticians who apply their research to informing health professionals where the highest risk locations for malaria are, and so treatment and resources can be targeted effectively and efficiently. Many of these control interventions also involved scientists, whose job is to evaluate the success of such operations, and design strategies that can even more rapidly deliver malaria diagnosis, treatment and prevention information to the people who need it most.
Hopefully by now you will see why it is impossible to give you a list of the most important malaria scientists in the world; there are so many people working on so many different facets of treating the disease that I would never be able to include them all! However, we are encouraging many of the scientists who work on malaria to join this website; as such, keep an eye on the membership and feel free to contact any members who are engaged directly in research; I am sure they would be happy to give you more information as to the research groups working on specific areas of malaria control.