NPR: The military’s long war on malaria

Col. Christian Ockenhouse, director of malaria vaccine research at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, shows how volunteers are infected with malaria -- by holding their forearms over a container holding five malaria-infected mosquitoes. The container is covered with a mesh, allowing the mosquitoes to bite the volunteers.

As part of NPR’s series of stories about the closing of Walter Reed Army Medical Center is this great look at the military’s long leadership in the scientific battle against malaria.

As NPR’s Richard Knox notes in his report:

Malaria has always been a problem for soldiers. Roman legions had to contend with it. So did George Washington’s troops. Civil War battles were won and lost because of it. And it was a huge problem in the South Pacific during World War II….

The center’s Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, housed for the past decade on its own campus in Maryland, just outside Washington, is one of the world’s premier research centers for infectious diseases.

No other place has done as much to prevent and treat malaria. And certainly, no one has done it so cheaply.

The U.S. Army’s medical center may be closing, but the military’s leading role in malaria research will continue under new reorganization.

Meanwhile, Seattle’s role in the malaria research field — primarily at Seattle Biomed, which has a strong partnership with many scientists at Walter Reed — appears likely to continue to grow.

 

 

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.