Malaria

Malaria 1
Arjen Dondorp (top 4th from left) and members of the MORU Malaria Department.

The aim of the Malaria Department at MORU is to improve health through research that addresses threats arising from malaria for the 3.5 billion people who live in malaria endemic zones around the globe. Malaria infects some 200 million annually and kills close to 600,000 people a year, the overwhelming majority of them children under the age of five living in Africa. Our research focuses on the diagnosis, pathophysiology, treatment, prevention and elimination of malaria. 

The Bangkok-based Malaria Department works closely with the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU). Their combined research output has directly resulted in the most important developments in antimalarial chemotherapy in the past 50 years. Our work has provided the biological, economic, and clinical basis for changing global antimalarial treatment recommendations to artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) for uncomplicated falciparum malaria and injectable artesunate for severe malaria.

We have been central in providing evidence crucial for the international response to artemisinin resistant falciparum malaria, the principal threat to global malaria control and elimination, by defining its phenotype and genotype, mapping its spread, testing new treatments and evaluating a radical approach to regional elimination. 

We have developed and optimised new treatment regimens through pharmacokinetic/ pharmacodynamic studies and tested them in randomised clinical trials. These have been endorsed by the WHO and recommended globally. Research carried out by the MORU Malaria Department and by SMRU underpins the WHO treatment guidelines for severe malaria, uncomplicated malaria, and malaria in pregnancy.