Myanmar Regional International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research
New tools for mapping and predicting malaria risk are needed to help National Malaria Control Programs in Southeast Asia to eliminate drug resistant malaria. At sites in central Myanmar and on both sides of its borders with China and Bangladesh, the Myanmar Regional Center of Excellence for Malaria Research integrates findings from clinical and field research, including molecular surveillance, genomic epidemiology and geospatial mapping and modeling of malaria risk, to provide essential knowledge, tools, and evidence-based strategies to stratify malaria risk, with the ultimate aim of accelerating malaria elimination in the region.
Artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria appeared in Southeast Asia ten years ago, posing a serious threat to global malaria control and elimination. Based in part on our findings about the patterns of emergence and spread of artemisinin resistance in the region, in 2015 the WHO abandoned its strategy of trying to contain artemisinin resistance, and the World Health Assembly approved a new WHO recommendation to launch a campaign to completely eliminate falciparum malaria in Southeast Asia. Along with other countries at the 2015 East Asia Summit, Myanmar, the emerging democracy formerly known as Burma, endorsed a plan for malaria elimination in the region by 2030. To achieve this daunting goal, innovative tools are needed for malaria surveillance, treatment and prevention. Because the heaviest concentrations of malaria in Myanmar and neighboring countries are found in border and conflict areas that are often out of reach of national health systems, malaria elimination—and malaria research in support of elimination—requires a multi-sectoral, cross-border approach. Building on the foundation of a successful malaria research program that we created in Myanmar in 2012 with NIAID grant support, and working closely with local and regional partners, in 2017 we established a new NIH International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) centered in Myanmar, with sites in central Myanmar and on both sides of its borders with China and Bangladesh. Integrating findings from clinical and field research, including molecular surveillance, genomic epidemiology and geospatial mapping and modeling of malaria risk, we are conducting innovative multidisciplinary research that will provide essential knowledge, tools, and evidence-based strategies for national malaria control programs and their partners to control, treat and ultimately eliminate malaria in Southeast Asia.
The Myanmar Regional ICEMR consists of 3 Projects and 4 Cores. In addition to co-directing the ICEMR with DGHI faculty member Myaing Myaing Nyunt MD PhD MPH, Dr. Plowe directs Project 2, MALARIA PARASITE MIGRATION AND EMERGENCE AND SPREAD OF DRUG RESISTANCE.
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH
- Department of Medical Research, Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports, Yangon, Myanmar; Defence Services Medical Research Center, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar; National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese CDC, Shanghai, China; icddr,b, Dhaka, Bangladesh; Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland College Park; Center for Genomics and Computational Biology, Duke University