Malaria is a life-threatening disease spread to humans by some types of mosquitoes. In 2021, nearly half of the world’s population was at risk of malaria.


Our goal is to advance the elimination of malaria by improving how it is diagnosed, treated and prevented.

Our research

WEHI’s malaria research team has several aims.

  • Discover more about how the malaria parasite lives and grows, and how it interacts with our body’s immune system, so we can find new ways to treat it.
  • Search for new medicines that can better treat malaria, to help save lives.
  • Create a blood test that will identify if people have a type of malaria that can stay hidden in their liver for a long time (Plasmodium vivax). This type of malaria is the most common across the world.
  • Reveal how malaria spreads in the Asia-Pacific region, to assist in programs that are fighting the disease in some of the world’s poorest countries.
  • Fast-track the development of vaccines to prevent people from getting infected with malaria.

To accelerate our discoveries:

  • we have established an insectary to help us study the entire life cycle of the malaria parasite inside mosquitoes and as it passes into the human body
  • we have a collaborative research centre that is focused on discovering solutions to some of the biggest health challenges (including malaria) affecting the world’s poorest countries. This is called the WEHI Centre for Global Disease and Health.
  • we use advanced microscopic technologies to capture views of the malaria parasite that have not been seen before
  • we collaborate with researchers from countries where malaria is a problem, such as Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Cambodia and Peru
  • we are an active member of the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network
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