NPR Examines Legacy Of Walter Reed Army Medical Center's Institute Of Research In Battle Against Malaria

“As the Walter Reed Army Medical Center decamps from its D.C. campus this month and merges with the Bethesda Naval Hospital five miles away,” NPR reports on the legacy of “the center’s Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, housed for the past decade on its own campus in Maryland, just outside Washington, [as] one of the world’s premier research centers for infectious diseases.” The piece, which is part of the news agency’s series on the closure of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, notes, “No other place has done as much to prevent and treat malaria. And certainly, no one has done it so cheaply.”

“Most people know ‘the Walter Reed’ as a mammoth military medical center in Washington, D.C., where both U.S. presidents and ordinary war-wounded soldiers get their care,” but “over decades … human experiment[s] at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research [have] produced an unparalleled outpouring of drugs and vaccines to prevent and treat malaria, one of the world’s leading disease threats,” NPR reports. Christian Ockenhouse, who is in charge of developing malaria vaccines at the Walter Reed Institute, “says the Defense Department spends only $15 million a year on malaria research — $10 million on drug development and $5 million on vaccines, … a mosquito-size portion of the DOD’s $680 billion budget,” NPR writes (Knox, 9/1).