Global malaria experts meet at Menzies

08/12/05

A group of the world's foremost malaria experts will meet at Menzies School of Health Research to address the critical issue of global drug resistance, at a malaria symposium starting Sunday.

Leading malaria researchers from Thailand, USA, UK and Indonesia will meet with local experts from Darwin and Brisbane to come up with a standard way to assess drug resistance to malaria throughout the world.

Each year it's estimated over 500 million people develop malaria, with a relentless increase in resistance to conventional drugs fuelling this crisis.

Dr. Ric Price, symposium organiser and Senior Research Fellow at Menzies School of Health Research, says current methods of measuring antimalarial drug resistance are far from optimal. Standardising a global approach will help idenitify endemic areas at highest risk and facilitate decisions on antimalarial policy.

"All of us have been frustrated for years at the limitations of the current methods of measuring drug resistance and the fact they have been applied so inconsistently. We need to come up with the best way to accurately measure drug resistance", he said.

"Standardising the technique used to assess resistance around the world will allow us to make better decisions about the use of current and new antimalarial drugs," Dr. Price said.

Director of Menzies School of Health Research, Professor Kerin O'Dea, says that these key international experts coming to Darwin reflects the profile MSHR's malaria research team has earned internationally.

"Menzies has an international reputation in malaria research in our region through a long standing collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Health," said Professor O'Dea.

The only public seminar offered throughout the symposium, will be presented by Professor Nicholas White, Mahidol University Research Unit, Bangkok.

Professor White will speak on the global threat of drug resistant malaria at Menzies School of Health Research Seminar Room, 12 noon - 1pm, Monday 15th August.

INTERVIEWS with Professor Nicholas White and Dr. Ric Price ONLY AVAILABLE during public seminar question time 1240-1300 and one-on-one from 1300-1315.

Further information - Alison Ellis, Menzies School of Health Research Phone: 61-889-228-989/
61-0-422-585-917.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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