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Wits Research Institute For Malaria (WRIM)

Research into diseases transmitted by insects began in South Africa in 1926 at the South African Institute for Medical Research, under the leadership of Dr Botha de Meillon. He was responsible for demonstrating that indoor residual house spraying (IRS) would be a very effective method for controlling malaria vector mosquitoes and this method was the basis for the WHO Malaria Eradication Campaign in the 1960s and is again the focus for new drives to combat malaria in Africa and elsewhere. Studies on the malaria parasites were undertaken in the Department of Tropical Diseases under the leadership of Prof Margaretha Isaacson. A comprehensive history can be found in the book by Marais Malan, In Quest of Health (1988, Lowry Publishers, Johannesburg).

This strong tradition of research on malaria at Wits has continued and expanded.

  • The investigation of novel antimalarial agents began in 1999 in the Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology with the establishment of the Wellcome Trust funded Malaria Research Laboratories.
  • Research on molecular pathways in the malaria parasite was initiated in 2002 under the leadership of Professor Theresa L Coetzer who formed the NHLS Plasmodium Molecular Research Unit.