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Scientists are united to end malaria in our lifetimes

Amid the scale of devastation caused by the disease, there is now a glimmer of hope.

Malaria cripples health systems and economies, crushes communities and causes heart-breaking loss. 

A child still dies from malaria every minute of every day. It remains the sixth-highest cause of death in low-income countries and claimed over 600,000 lives in 2022, three quarters of which were children under five. 

But there is hope on the horizon: what is less known is that we now have unprecedented tools to combat malaria. We have a historic opportunity to significantly reduce the disease and end it within our lifetimes.

Over the past two decades, we’ve witnessed a remarkable decline in malaria deaths, from over 897,000 in 2000 to 608,000 in 2022. This progress, fuelled by scientific innovation and unwavering determination, has saved an estimated 11.7 million lives between 2000 and 2022.

And in 2024 we find ourselves better equipped to combat malaria than ever before.

For the first time, we have not one but two vaccines to protect children against malaria in endemic countries. The rollout has begun for one (the “RTS,S/AS01” vaccine) with the new “R21” vaccine poised for deployment from next month.

But vaccines are not the only tool required; we know that for greatest impact, they must be combined with other interventions as part of a toolbox approach.

Next-generation bed nets, for example, adapted to overcome mosquito resistance, have protected more than 60 million people and are one of a number of ways of reducing the impact of mosquitos themselves.

Alongside prevention, we continue to develop new anti-malarials. Seasonal malaria chemoprevention, for example, protects around 50 million children every year ahead of malaria peaks and significantly boosts the effect of vaccines.

Maintaining momentum is a challenge in the face of a storm of competing global priorities and health challenges.

The Covid-19 pandemic, with its appetite for resources and attention, threatened to derail progress and led to an alarming uptick in cases and deaths.

The climate crisis is also playing a critical role in making malaria harder to track, as well as creating the conditions for resurgences following flooding, extreme weather and changing mosquito biting patterns.

But we stand resolute.

As leading organisations at the forefront of malaria research, we are united in our conviction that malaria can and will be consigned to the history books in our lifetimes.

The United Kingdom, with its reputation as a science “superpower”, plays a pivotal role in this endeavour, spearheading groundbreaking innovations and championing global cooperation.

What’s more, a malaria-free world creates enormous resource to provide security against future pandemics and fight climate change, providing much-needed additional stability as well as benefiting the UK public.

In 2024 we need governments around the world to commit the funds needed to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to ensure these interventions don’t sit in labs and warehouses but reach the children that so urgently need them.

And we, as a science sector committed to ending malaria, need the funding and political support to maintain a pipeline of future innovations that can adjust to the changing nature of this disease.

We remain committed to beating malaria and united in our belief we can turn the tide against the disease in our lifetimes.


  • Thomas Breuer – chief global health officer, GSK
  • Professor Adrian Hill – director of the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford
  • Justin McBeath, CEO – Innovative Vector Control Consortium  
  • Sylvie Fonteilles-Drabek interim CEO, Medicines for Malaria Venture 
  • Gareth Jenkins – executive director of advocacy and strategy, Malaria No More UK

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