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Entomologists study mosquitos at the National Center for Research and Training on Malaria in Burkina Faso in West Africa. Photo: Olympia De Maismont/AFP/Getty Images

As world leaders, advocates and others meet in France this week to discuss the Global Fund's replenishment for its programs targeting tuberculosis, HIV and malaria, a group of international experts say malaria can be completely eradicated within this generation — via more funding, new data tools, political will and promising drugs.

Why it matters: The fight against malaria has seen great overall progress since 2000, with death rates dropping 60%, global incidences falling 36% and more than half of all countries reporting being free of malaria. However, it still kills a child every 2 minutes and the fight has plateaued or lost ground in some parts of the world.

The backdrop: The 4 main parasite species that need to be targeted evolve quickly and can become drug resistant.

  • Richard Feachem, director at UCSF's Institute for Global Health Sciences and global health professor at both UCSF and UC Berkeley, told Axios, "One of the challenges we have in malaria is the evolutionary arms race — the parasite has become resistant to the drugs we use, and the mosquito has become resistant to the insecticides."
  • The World Health Organization issued a 3-year study on malaria in August that said malaria eradication is key to saving lives and addressing economic woes but declined to give a timeframe for eradication.

The other side: 41 malariologists, biomedical scientists, economists and health policy experts from around the world published a report in The Lancet, examining various factors they say show the world is at a "tipping point" in the war against malaria — but they are confident it can be eradicated "within this generation."

  • "The evidence clearly shows complete eradication of malaria for humankind is possible by 2050 or sooner," says Feachem, who also is the Lancet Commission co-chair.
  • Malaria eradication would be "of historic importance ... it's probably killed more human beings than any other disease," Feachem adds.

4 main steps are needed, per Feachem:

  • Strengthening management systems to implement more data-driven programs and community/private sector participation.
  • Developing new tools and technologies including drug development.
  • Increasing funding by an additional $2 billion per year (to a total of $6.3 billion/year) that also incorporates more domestic spending.
  • Encouraging stronger leadership and new accountability mechanisms.

What they're saying: Axios was also invited to a roundtable discussion by the Center for Strategic and International Studies to listen to the Lancet Commission discuss ideas to facilitate the timeline.

"We have the option to move to real-time data capture. ... If we can change from a paper-based system that takes months [to process] and often doesn't give feedback ... it will change behavior."
— Kenneth Staley, U.S. global malaria coordinator, President's Malaria Initiative
"How do you operationalize countries that are high burden but [have] low standards?"
— Stephen Morrison, SVP and director, CSIS Global Health Policy Center
"Already governments are putting more money into malaria ... That requires a whole-of-government approach to looking at financing, from increasing tax revenues to allocating more money to health. ... [But] there must be political will, where the leaders [can] make these tough choices."
— Muhammad Pate, global director of health, nutrition and population, World Bank
"We have great tools today. They are not perfect, but if we could just maximize the ones we have today ... we could save millions of lives."
— Robert Newman, director of AMP Health, The Aspen Institute

Meanwhile, research is ongoing for possible targets in gene-editing or drug development, like two studies that developed a tool and a cell atlas to help map out the genes of some of the parasites, and looking at a possible TCMDC-135051 inhibitor.

What we're watching: How the Global Fund, which is one of the main malaria funders, does in its current drive to get $14 billion in funding for malaria, TB and HIV when it's facing some donor fatigue.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker