UCSF Receives $4.5M for Malaria Research

A Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist has donated $4.5 million to the University of California at San Francisco for research to eradicate malaria worldwide, according to the university.

Sean Parker’s donation will fund research by Sir Richard Feachem, the director of the university’s Global Health Group.

Officials with the Global Health Group believe scientists can eradicate malaria worldwide in 25 years.

Parker co-founded Napster and was the first president of Facebook.

“While incredible strides have been made in combating the disease, we must be relentless to reach the ultimate goal: a world where humanity no longer has to endure the suffering inflicted by this disease,” Parker said in a statement.

“Countries around the world are working tirelessly to fight malaria, and they require a larger arsenal of effective tools,” Feachem said in a statement. “With the generous and enthusiastic support from Sean Parker, and with the help of our many partners worldwide, we will explore radical new approaches to control the Anopheles mosquito.”

Forty of the 430 species of the Anopheles mosquito transmit malaria efficiently, according to the university.

The research conducted by Feachem will look at some old and new methods and interventions, according to university officials.

Scientists will investigate the effectiveness of modern homes, genetically modified mosquitoes, aerial insecticide to kill mosquito larvae and nanoparticle insecticide delivery, where rainfall or temperature triggers the insecticide’s release, according to the university.

Scientists have not determined what housing features are associated with a reduction in malaria cases, but observational studies have shown “very low to low quality” evidence that a relationship exists.

“The only way to end deaths from malaria forever, is to end malaria forever,” Ray Chambers, the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and for Malaria, said in a statement. “Sean Parker’s deep commitment to invigorate the approaches available to end this disease, together with Sir Richard’s visionary leadership, will undoubtedly strengthen our resolve.”

Keith Burbank, Bay City News

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