UN envoy welcomes pharmaceutical company’s release of malaria data

21 January 2010

The envoy leading United Nations efforts against malaria today praised one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies for its plan to open up its database to scientists in hopes of promoting research to help combat the deadly disease.

GlaxoSmithKline announced today its decision to freely disseminate information on more than 13,500 chemical compounds with malaria-fighting capabilities.

Raymond Chambers, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, praised the move calling it a “revolutionary nexus between the corporate and humanitarian worlds” that “will undoubtedly catalyze research and development and ensure a competitive marketplace.”

According to UN data, malaria kills a child every 30 seconds.

In a statement released today, Mr. Chambers said GlaxoSmithKline’s decision would accelerate intervention and “directly translate into more lives saved.”

Of the nearly half a billion people infected with the malaria parasite each year, about 1 million die. Nearly 90 per cent of cases are in Africa.

In April 2008, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon set a timetable for comprehensive malaria control in Africa by the end of 2010.

“With just one year remaining until the Secretary-General’s deadline to ensure universal access to malaria control interventions, I’m extremely grateful for GlaxoSmithKline’s commitment," Mr. Chambers said.

Combating malaria is also one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the world’s leaders in 2000, for which the countdown to 2015 – when they are supposed to be achieved – is ticking.

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