Exxon Teams with International Groups To Fight Malaria

BOSTON-ExxonMobil Corporation is teaming with the Harvard Malaria Initiative, Medicines for Malaria Venture, and Roll Back Malaria to develop new antimalarial drugs and malarial vaccines.

The groups will strengthen on-the-ground programs for malaria prevention and treatment in five sub-Saharan African countries where ExxonMobil has major production operation. Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria will be receiving aid from the joint venture. The funding includes $1 million for the Harvard Malaria Initiative and $300,000 for Medicines for Malaria Venture. The groups want to increase awareness of the disease, strengthen research and prevention programs, and establish a public-private partnership for in-country programs.

Exxon has joined the group in part to encourage other private-sector companies to become involved. There are more people infected with the mosquito-borne disease in Africa today than any other time in recorded history. Malaria is a curable disease if promptly diagnosed. More than 40% of the world's population is at risk; however, the disease has been removed from most industrialized countries for decades through mass pesticide use.

In 2001, more than 300 million new cases will occur and more than one million people will die form the disease, the majority being young children.

Malaria also cripples the economies of developing countries through enormous cost in medical expenses and days of labor lost. It is estimated that each year, the direct and indirect cost of malaria drains $2 million from the economies of sub-Saharan African countries.

Information from www.businesswire.com