Malaria implementation and operational research funding tracked for the first time

TDR news item
20 June 2018

A new report co-developed by TDR on the state of funding of malaria research and development (R&D) shows for the first time the proportion of funding going to implementation and operational research. It also shows how funding overall for malaria research and product development falls US $100 million short of the need.

Bridging the gaps in malaria R&D: An analysis of funding—from basic research and product development to research for implementation reports that over the 3-year period 2014-2016 research for implementation comprised 16% of total average annual malaria R&D investments of $673 million, averaging US $107 million annually.

Investments in basic research and product development over the same period averaged $215 million, annually, for drug development (32% of total malaria R&D); $142 million for vaccine development (21%); $135 million for basic research (20%); $35.3 million for vector control products (5%); and $19 million for diagnostics (3%).

“Research for implementation is critical to controlling malaria and meeting elimination targets,” said Dr John Reeder, Director of TDR. “With these data, funders can now start to track and analyze the adequacy of this amount and the gaps in coverage.”

The need for research for implementation

The World Health Organization’s 2017 World Malaria Report raised concerns worldwide when it showed that the total number of estimated malaria cases rose in 2016 by 5 million over the previous year. Of the 21 countries that had been on track to eliminate malaria by 2020, 5 countries reported an increase of more than 100 cases in 2016 compared with 2015.

These rises in malaria cases were not uniform and have prompted malaria experts to recommend a more customized approach—one that ensures that available tools are used to maximum effect. In the absence of data on investments in research for implementation, however, it has not been possible to assess whether funding levels are consistent with the priority assigned to it by leading funders, or if the funding allocated is sufficient.

The report was developed by PATH, TDR, and Malaria No More UK, with input from the World Health Organization’s Global Malaria Programme (WHO/GMP), the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), and the International Vector Control Consortium (IVCC). Policy Cures Research provided data on financial resource flows and also conducted the pilot survey to derive an initial estimate of investments in research for implementation.

For more information, contact Robert Terry .