Today, 25 April 2022, marks another World Malaria Day; an opportunity for the global community to reaffirm the continuing efforts to eradicate one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases. International collaboration, research, and innovation, have provided us with a once in a generation opportunity to achieve that goal, and given the disruption caused by Covid-19 and other outbreaks, that is no mean feat.
This year’s theme – Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives – resonates with all of us here at Erada. From the very beginning, our mission has been to bring new research and tools to the international fight against malaria, in order to save lives. Founder Dr Benji Pretorius, himself a malaria survivor and practicing medical professional, has been a strong advocate for early intervention and detection – something we firmly believe is essential if malaria is to be finally consigned to the history books.
It was from Dr Pretorius’s passion and real-life experience that led us to develop Salva!, the world’s first saliva-based rapid diagnostic test (RDT).
RDTs are a crucial line of defense in combatting malaria. Gaining clear results out in villages and rural communities, without the need for individuals to travel to a healthcare facility unnecessarily. One of the perhaps less-publicised benefits of RDTs is that they can be used by outreach workers and volunteers, many of whom have strong ties with the community. This builds that all-important relationship of trust between a community and healthcare, ensuring that there is every opportunity for urgent treatment to be carried out when and where it’s needed the most.
We are confident that with continued commitment from world leaders, organisations, and other groups, the future is looking positive. But as is often the case with diseases, the parasites are evolving to remain a few steps ahead. This is why we cannot afford to let up on innovating new treatment and detection methods, uncovering new knowledge, and sharing data in order to lighten the burden of malaria on the regions it affects the most.
Keep an eye on our blog and social media pages for the latest updates, or sign up to our newsletter, A View from the Field.
Let’s keep up the fight; let’s eradicate malaria for good.