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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

UNC: Working to Prevent and Treat Malaria

Finding ways to prevent and treat malaria, particularly in Africa, has been a longstanding area of research for UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health epidemiology professor Dr. Steven Meshnick.

[Photo: Washed garments are hung to dry outside dwelling places lining a river in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Poverty and weather conditions compound the problem of malaria. Outside of Africa, the majority of recorded cases of malaria are concentrated in Cambodia and in eight other countries in Asia and South America. Photo courtesy of National Geographic]

On April 12, a paper co-authored by Dr. Meshnick and colleagues Drs. Jon Juliano and Jessica Lin was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases. The work describes the emergence of clinical resistance to the antimalarial, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, in Cambodia.  The drug, considered one of the most promising new Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs), failed in more than half of malaria-infected subjects.  The study was conducted by Dr. Michele Spring and colleagues at the Armed Forces Institute of Medical Sciences in collaboration with investigators at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Another new project by Dr. Michael Hudgens, associate professor of biostatistics at the Gillings School, aims to develop statistical methods for quantifying the effects of interventions to prevent infectious diseases. The developed methods will be used to analyze data from several large infectious disease prevention studies, providing new insights into the different effects of cholera, influenza, pneumococcal, rotavirus, and typhoid vaccines, and malaria bed nets.