WRAIR hosts the fourth annual Magill Malaria Forum

Col. Teyhen providing opening remarks at the Fourth Annual Magill Malaria Forum (photo credit: Natasha Hendrix)

On April 26, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research hosted the fourth annual Magill Malaria Forum, entitled “Overcoming Challenges at the Front Lines of Malaria.”  The event, attended by approximately 170 clinicians, researchers and product users, reviewed the current state of malaria research with a special focus on military medical research around the world. 

The event is named for Dr. Alan Magill, ret. U.S. Army Colonel, a legendary infectious disease doctor and medical researcher.  He spent 26 years in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, eighteen of which were at WRAIR, where he served in positions like director of the Division of Experimental Therapeutics and WRAIR science director.  He continued his battle against infectious diseases as the president of the International Society of Travel Medicine and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene as well as director of malaria programs at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Prior to the formal event, a poster session highlighted malaria research performed at WRAIR, Naval Medical Research Center and their overseas laboratories alongside exhibits from the National Museum of Health and Medicine to illustrate historical military malaria prevention efforts.  

Col. Deydre Teyhen, WRAIR Commander, provided opening remarks introducing WRAIR’s efforts to protect and enhance Warfighter health followed by Col. Viseth Ngauy, director of WRAIR’s Malaria Vaccine Branch, who introduced the event. 

Remarks were followed by four speakers:
•    Dr. Scott Miller, BMGF, about malaria prevention during the Army’s deployment to Africa amid the 2014 Ebola outbreak
•    Dr. Nonlawat Boonyalai, U.S. Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, about the development of malaria drug resistance in Southeast Asia 
•    Dr. Ben Andagalu, U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate-Africa and the Kenya Medical Research Institute, about the diversity of the malaria parasite 
•    Dr. Gissella Vasquez, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit Six in Perú, about the military relevance of Plasmodium vivax

Following these remarks, a panel of malaria expects discussed countermeasure development, the diversity of malaria parasites, challenges posed by malaria elimination efforts and other topics.  Panel members included: 
•    Lt. Col. Jacob Johnson, Military Infectious Disease Research Program
•    Dr. Scott Miller, BMGF
•    Dr. Sumathi Nambiar, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
•    Col. Robert O’Connell, AFRIMS
•    Dr. Ben Andagalu, USAMRD-A
•    Dr. Eileen Villasante, Naval Medical Research Center  

WRAIR is also proud to congratulate Dr. Qigui Li for his induction during this event into the Order of Military Medical Merit.  The Order of Military Medical Merit is a unique, private organization founded by the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Health Services Command in April 1982 to recognize excellence and promote fellowship and esprit de corps among Army Medical Department personnel.  Across his 27 years at WRAIR, Dr. Li became a valued scientist, mentor and world-renowned expert in the pharmacokinetics and dynamics of drugs used to prevent and treat malaria.  His scientific output has directly contributed to the development and licensure of numerous antimalarial drugs.