From Gene Editing to Death Traps, Seattle Scientists Innovate in Race to End Malaria
When Kayode Ojo first fell sick with malaria as a young boy in Nigeria, his grandfather shunned modern medicine, venturing into the bush to search for herbs and plants to treat the disease.
Having succumbed to malaria a further 50 or more times in his life, the United States-based scientist, now in his forties, is determined that his research – to develop a drug to stop transmission from humans back to mosquitoes – will help to eradicate the deadly disease.
“When people in Nigeria, the world’s hardest-hit country, get malaria, many simply shrug their shoulders and see it as normal … that needs to change,” Ojo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a lab at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Ojo is one of thousands of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs striving to develop innovations to end malaria in a city dubbed the “Silicon Valley of saving lives”, which boasts more than 160 organizations working on global health issues.
It is also home to the world’s richest couple, Bill and Melinda Gates, whose global health and education charity has set the aim of eradicating the disease by 2040.