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Focusing On Disease Eradication Rather Than Control 'Can Pay Off'

“Work on malaria suggests that focusing on the science and technology required to eliminate a disease, rather than just control it, can pay off — and that such approaches could be applied to other diseases,” SciDev.Net Editor David Dickson writes in a SciDev.Net editorial, adding that “programs can place greater emphasis on research into transmission pathways, not just the treatment of patients,” and “can also increase pressure to generate epidemiological data to demonstrate the effectiveness of elimination campaigns and compare control strategies.”

He says two challenges to eradicating malaria still exist: “The first is to use scientific evidence of feasibility to leverage the massive financial resources — and the political commitments behind them — that are required to achieve this goal” and the “second is to use the progress achieved with malaria to generate demand for research on the range of tools needed to eliminate other challenging diseases.” Though “[n]ot every eradication campaign will succeed in reaching its goal … that does not undermine the value of efforts that may take us further in controlling a disease than we would have done otherwise,” he writes (10/14).

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